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Sports Nutrition: Restricted Calories and Injury Risks

As an athlete, it's natural to want to achieve peak performance and maintain a healthy body weight. However, many athletes fall into the trap of calorie restriction in an attempt to achieve their goals. While calorie restriction can lead to weight loss, it can also increase the risk of injury. In this blog, we will explore the correlation between calorie restriction and injury risk, backed by scientific research.


Calorie restriction refers to the practice of consuming fewer calories than your body requires. This can be achieved through a variety of methods, including reducing portion sizes, skipping meals, or following a restrictive diet such as a low-carbohydrate diet. While calorie restriction can lead to weight loss, it can also have negative effects on the body, particularly for athletes.

Research has shown that calorie restriction can increase the risk of injury in athletes.


One study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that athletes who restricted their calorie intake by 30% for four weeks had a significant increase in muscle damage markers compared to those who maintained their usual caloric intake. This increase in muscle damage markers indicates a higher risk of injury.


Another study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that calorie restriction can decrease muscle strength and endurance, leading to an increased risk of injury. The study found that participants who restricted their calorie intake by 24% for three weeks had a significant decrease in muscle strength and endurance compared to those who maintained their usual caloric intake.

Calorie restriction can also lead to a decrease in bone density, which can increase the risk of stress fractures.


A study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that female athletes who restricted their calorie intake had lower bone density and an increased risk of stress fractures compared to those who consumed a sufficient number of calories.


In addition to increasing the risk of injury, calorie restriction can also have negative effects on an athlete's mental health. Restrictive diets can lead to feelings of deprivation and guilt, which can impact an athlete's mood and motivation. This can ultimately affect their performance and increase the risk of injury.


Tracking Nutrition:


One of the primary benefits of tracking your nutrition is that it can help you achieve a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for preventing injuries, especially if you are involved in sports or other physical activities. When you carry excess weight, it puts additional stress on your joints and muscles, making them more susceptible to injury. By tracking your nutrition and making healthy food choices, you can achieve a healthy weight and reduce your risk of injury.


Another benefit of tracking your nutrition is that it can help you meet your nutrient needs. Nutrient deficiencies can weaken your immune system and make you more prone to injuries. By tracking your nutrition, you can ensure that you are getting all the essential nutrients your body needs to function properly, including protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. This will help you maintain optimal health and prevent injuries.


Food Allergens:


Tracking your nutrition can also help you identify any food intolerances or allergies. Food intolerances or allergies can cause digestive issues, inflammation, and other health problems that can increase your risk of injury. By tracking your nutrition and monitoring how your body responds to different foods, you can identify any potential food intolerances or allergies and avoid these foods to prevent injury.


Decreased Performance:


In addition to these benefits, tracking your nutrition can also help you identify any unhealthy eating habits that may be putting you at risk for injury. For example, if you are not getting enough protein in your diet, your muscles may be weaker and more prone to injury. By tracking your nutrition, you can identify any areas where you may be falling short and make adjustments to your diet to prevent injury.


Keep Accountable:


Finally, tracking your nutrition can help you stay accountable and motivated. When you are tracking your food intake, you are more aware of what you are putting into your body, which can help you make healthier choices. This can help you stay motivated to stick to your nutrition plan and prevent injuries.


As part of our sports performance programs we offer Athlete Wellness and Sports Nutrition with our mobile training platform.


If you're ready to learn more and take your game to the next level by working with a Certified Trainer, download the app now!





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