This introductory chapter has tried to capture the state-of-the-art knowledge about what high-level athletes should be consuming in order to maintain optimal performance in their specific sports. Two types of athletes, endurance and power, have been used to model the general recommendations for energy, especially from fats and carbohydrates and protein. Because proteins also serve other important cellular needs, emphasis has been placed on achieving intakes of the essential amino acids to meet cellular and tissue needs, especially muscle tissue. Finally, some emphasis has been given to the intakes of EFAs, especially the omega-3 FAs, which are used in eicosanoid synthesis for many specific functions of the body. The needs of highlevel athletes have been much more detailed than the needs of recreational athletes, who need to follow the general nutrient recommendations for the U.S. adult population. The nutrient needs of growing children who are athletes are not covered in this chapter, but of course the nutritional concerns of children and adolescents should first be on meeting the needs for continuing growth and then on the needs for athletic participation.

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