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Food provides energy for physical activity. As you get more active and more fit, and/or as you lose weight, your energy needs (how many calories you need) may change. To get the energy you require, you need to get the proper amount of:
Eating a diet that is varied, balanced, and moderate can provide you with all the nutrients the body needs without getting too much or too little of any one nutrient.
Those who are very active or who are athletes may have special nutritional needs. They usually don't need more protein than other people, but they do need more carbohydrate (grains, vegetables, fruits) than the amount recommended for the average person. Carbohydrate is stored as ready energy in the liver and muscles, and this supply is used up very quickly during exercise. Endurance athletes (such as runners and cyclists) need a particularly large amount of carbohydrate. The carbohydrate needs to be eaten right before and during exercise, because the body cannot store a lot of carbohydrate.
For a better understanding of your own nutritional requirements, talk to a sports doctor or dietitian. That's wiser than listening to friends or fellow athletes, because myths about eating are common and athletes are usually no better informed about nutrition than the average person. For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science|
|Last Revised||October 25, 2011|
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