Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Published Wednesday, January 27, 2021 with 10 comments

Choosing The Right Diet Plan For Young Athletes

For all the knowledge and research that has gone into diet, it has created more confusion than clarity. Everyone has their own version of healthy diet, and interestingly no-one is really wrong. You have a diet related experience, you’ll find a research or study that proves it, or there’s a particular regime you feel comfortable with, look hard enough, you find research to support that too.   


As crazy as this sounds, there is a rather simple explanation to all this. There is no right or wrong diet plan, it’s what works for your body.


If you’ve been bothered about your young athlete’s diet and have been trying to read up, here is a brief description to some famous diet plans. You can choose what best works for your child.


Important: Before you make your choice and freeze on a diet plan, do consult the coach or a certified dietician. A nutrient rich, healthy diet plan is a must for young athletes as their body needs the nutrition to grow alongside that extra push for sports.


Keto Diet

The basic principal behind keto diet is that it restricts intake of carbohydrates and replaces them with fat. This way the body adapts to burning fat in the body for energy. This diet has gained popularity amongst people who are trying to lose weight, and has proven to give good results too, but this diet is not recommended for kids. Keto diet limits the intake of carbohydrates, and children require carbohydrates for adequate physical and mental development. Keto diet, for children, is only prescribed in case of terminal illnesses like cancer and epilepsy. If your child is putting on weight and you are bothered, then too keto diet is not recommended, since it may cause impaired growth. There are other healthy options for losing weight you should consider.


Intermittent Fasting

Another popular diet regime for losing weight. While this diet plan puts no restrictions on the kinds of food you can consume, it binds you in a time frame. In its most common form, the 16/8 schedule, people need to fast for 16 hours a day and eat only during the 8 hour window. This again is not recommended for kids. Although, there aren’t a lot of studies to prove why this diet does not work for kids, by simple logic it can be deduced that any diet plan that puts a restriction in any form, also restricts growth in one way or the other. And the risk is not worth the try.


Vegan Diet

Many people are shifting to plant based diet for ethical reasons. Some are also adopting it because this diet is high on fibre, and lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes and even some forms of cancer. This diet does not pose a threat to a child’s growth, but lack of nutrition does. If you decide to follow vegan diet for your child, be informed that you must take professional help to make a proper diet chart and adhere to it. If the child is missing on essential proteins and nutrients from meat, eggs and dairy, that nutrition should be taken care of by plant-based nutrition. You may need to include a lot of nuts and fruits. Infor the nutritionist if the child id allergic. This diet regime would need a lot of work in terms of preparing the right food, sticking to the nutrition requirements every single day.


Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean  diet is the closest to healthy eating, so say some experts. It consists of emphasis on whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes and cuts back on refined carbohydrates, sugary beverages, processed foods and saturated fats. That said, growing children, especially young athletes need sugar rush and for a reason. So eliminating breads, cakes, cookies and juices (containing sugar) may not be a great idea. Again, if you are willing to switch over to the Mediterranean diet, you should do it with a professional’s consultation.


The verdict: any one diet plan may not be the way to go for your child. Talk to the coach, other parents on the team, talk to a sports nutritionist and that is the diet plan you might want to stick to. Your investment in your child’s sports training, in terms of resources, money, time and effort is way too much. A imbalanced diet will eventually interfere with it. You wouldn’t want that, would you?


Hope this helped! Download InstaTeam now, and create a nutrition support group for sports parents.




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