Research Papers On Sports Nutrition

Sport and Exercise Nutrition welcomes submissions of the following article types: Case Report, Clinical Trial, Correction, Data Report, Editorial, General Commentary, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Opinion, Original Research, Perspective, Review, Specialty Grand Challenge and Technology Report.

All manuscripts must be submitted directly to the section Sport and Exercise Nutrition, where they are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the specialty section.

Articles published in the section Sport and Exercise Nutrition will benefit from the Frontiers impact and tiering system after online publication. Authors of published original research with the highest impact, as judged democratically by the readers, will be invited by the Chief Editor to write a Frontiers Focused Review - a tier-climbing article. This is referred to as "democratic tiering". The author selection is based on article impact analytics of original research published in all Frontiers specialty journals and sections. Focused Reviews are centered on the original discovery, place it into a broader context, and aim to address the wider community across all of Nutrition.

I enjoy keeping up-to-date with the latest nutrition, sports science, and disease-prevention research.  Remember, although one study can make a dramatic headline, it often takes years of research and different kinds of studies to show how something is affecting our health.

  • For a general overview of nutrition for athletic performance that puts the latest research in context, check out this page.
  • If you are looking for good sports nutrition resources, check out this page.

Below are links to recent research or well-presented articles that caught my attention.  I’ll be updating the list so be sure to check back!


  • Carbs, not fats, boost half-marathon race performance, study finds.A study in competitive runners confirms that carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel for endurance events. Study authors conclude that for best race performances, endurance athletes should use dietary strategies that maximize carbohydrate availability before and during competition. (Journal of Applied Physiology, Nov 2015).
  • Higher carbohydrate intake reduces overtraining symptoms (Asker Jeukendrup,
  • Carbohydrate drinks, gels and bars: Why two carbs are better than one (Peak Performance UK)
  • Does Carb Loading Make a Difference? (Matt Fitzgerald); Study-> Metabolic Factors Limiting Performance in Marathon Runners (Plos One, October 2010)
  • Myths surrounding pre-exercise carbohydrate feeding (Jeukendrup & Killer, Annals of Nutrition Metabolism, Feb  2011)
  • Systematic review: Carbohydrate supplementation on exercise performance or capacity of varying durations (Stellingworth & Cox, Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2014, 39(9): 998-1011.)
  • A Step Towards Personalized Sports Nutrition: Carbohydrate
    Intake During Exercise. (Jeukendrup, A; Sports Med (2014) 44 (Suppl 1):S25–S33)
  • Exercising in the heat? You may need more carbs (Alex Hutchinson – Runner’s World)

Low Carb Diets for Athletes

Currently there is no good evidence to suggest that low-carb diets improve performance in athletes. Avoiding carbohydrates is more likely to decrease performance.

  • Low-carbing for endurance: the oxygen problem(
  • Ketogenic diets for athletes (Asker Jeukendrup,
  • Low-Carbohydrate Diets for Athletes (video – NSCA’s 2013 Personal Trainer Conference, Alan Aragon and Jeff Volek).
  • A low-carb diet can hurt your training without you even realizing it. Nice review of Australian study looking at glycogen (Matt Fitzgerald)
  • Higher carbohydrate intake reduces overtraining symptoms (Asker Jeukendrup,
  • Carbs Are Not the Enemy: Oversimplification Is (John Berardi, PhD)
  • Why carbohydrates are critical for top performance in athletes (Iñigo San Millán, PhD)
  • Carbohydrate needs of athletes (AIS Fact Sheet)
  • Are Ketogenic Diets Effective for Athletes? (Jill Parnell, No Baloney)
  • Athletes avoiding gluten or grains – is there good evidence? (Sheila Kealey)
  • Carbohydrate supplementation during exercise: Does it help? How much is too much? (Asker Jeukendrup, PhD, FACSM)
  • The truth about low-carb diets for athletes (Outside Magazine)
  • Is there any evidence to support low carb diets for physical performance or weight loss? (Jill Parnell, PhD, No Baloney)
  • Carb controversy: why low-carb diets have got it all wrong (Brian St Pierre, Precision Nutrition)
  • Athletes Staying Away From Carbs: Really? (Nancy Clarke, RD)

Eating for Performance

Foods That Might Boost Athletic Performance

Pre-Exercise Nutrition

Protein Intake and Performance

Sports Nutrition to Prevent or Help Heal Injuries

Nutritional Support for Exercise-Induced Injuries. Nice review article summarizing the evidence to date about nutrition for sports injuries. (Kevin Tipton, Sports Medicine, November 2015).

Can what you eat help sports injuries? Muscle and tendon injuries are common in athletes, and new studies are uncovering new rehabilitation and and diet strategies that can help muscle and tendon heal faster.  Exercise physiologist Asker Jeukendrup summarizes evidence presented at a recent conference for muscle injury and tendon injury. (Asker Jeukendrup,

Here’s a great video explaining this research and other nutrition strategies for injuries by the folks at  Guru Performance.

Sports Nutrition to Prevent Stress Fractures

Prone to stress fractures? Consider your sports nutrition.
Weight bearing exercise is generally good for bone health, because bone responds to the stress of exercise by becoming stronger.  But some athletes are more prone to stress fractures than others, especially athletes who aren’t eating enough for the demands of their sport.

Female athletes who are underweight and amenorrheic often have decreased bone mineral density and are at increased risk for fractures (reduced estrogen limits the amount of calcium absorbed and laid down in bone). Also, late menarche (more common in female athletes) has a negative impact on bone health and increases stress fracture risk.

Although a variety of factors contribute to fractures, recent research suggests that what an athlete eats before, during, and after exercise can influence bone turnover. Making the right choices could potentially offset bone loss and prevent stress fractures.

Carbohydrates during exercise might benefit bones.  It is already firmly established that eating carbohydrates helps endurance performance; this week a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology looked at how carbohydrates (8% glucose solution, similar to most sports drinks) during exercise influence bone metabolism during a strenuous 2-hour treadmill run. Researchers found that compared to placebo, runners who ingested carbohydrates during their run had reduced markers of bone resorption (breakdown). The effect was small and requires further study, but if you’re someone who goes without food/carbs during long workouts (and are prone to stress fractures), it seems this would be an good strategy to adopt, especially since carbohydrates will help other performance measures as well.   (Journal of Applied Physiology, October 2015)

Another strategy for bone health is a calcium-rich meal before exercise. Athletes lose calcium through sweat during exercise, which puts them at risk for bone loss, especially if their activity is non impact since it doesn’t benefit bones. A study in female cyclists found that eating a dairy-rich meal 90 minutes before riding can counter bone loss.  The pre-ride calcium-rich meal keeps blood calcium levels stable, so your body doesn’t borrow calcium from your bones to replace what’s lost in sweat. (PLOS ONE, May 2015)

Sports Drinks

Special Diets

Eating Disorders

  • New study helps explain why eating disorders are so difficult to treat.  Although many people make poor food choices, anorexia nervosa is a serious illness where maladaptive food choices can lead to starvation. In a new study, researchers from UC San Diego look at the neural mechanisms underlying anorexia nervosa with brain scanning techniques, and show that brain circuits involved in habitual behavior might help explain the destructive choices. When presented with images of food, brain areas of women with anorexia were more involved than in women without anorexia, suggesting that anorexics weren’t weighing the pros and cons of the food, but choosing based on past experience.  The findings emphasize the importance of seeking treatment early. (Nature Neuroscience, October 2015).
  • Practice guidelines for the treatment of  eating disorders (Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry; 2014, Vol. 48(11) 977–1008)
  • Prevention of eating disorders in female athletes
    Excellent review stresses better education for athletes, coaches, and health professionals (J Sports Med 2014 5; 105-113).
  • Intervention shows strategies to prevent eating disorders in young athletes
  • Eating Disorders Resource Catalogue
  • Maudsley Family Based Treatment with Dr. Kimberly Sogge

Vitamins and Supplements

Iron & Calcium

  • Training at altitude requires adequate iron stores. If you are an athlete with low iron stores, this new study suggests that it’s important for you try to improve your iron status before training at high altitude, and consider iron supplementation when at altitude.  The study found that daily iron supplementation while training at altitude can help attenuate a reduction in iron stores.  Overall, athletes with low iron stores should take a look at their diet, and consider an iron supplement under the supervision of a physician, especially if training or racing at altitude. (PlosOne, August 2015).
  • The Iron Needs of Athletes: Who Needs More, and How to Get it Through Your Diet (Sheila Kealey)
  • Eating dairy before training might help cyclists avoid future bone problems. This study found that a calcium-rich breakfast before an intense ride lessened exercise-induced changes in bone that results from calcium lost in sweat. The calcium-rich meal contained 1,350 mg calcium (that’s a lot of calcium – 1 cup of milk has 300 mg/calcium). What did the the cyclists eat?  The breakfast consisted of rolled-oats cooked in calcium-fortified milk, yogurt, and additional milk  (PLOS One May 13, 2015).
  • Diets of elite female athletes lack iron & calcium (especially aesthetic sport athletes) 

Antioxidant Supplements


Eating for Recovery/Adaptations to Endurance Exercise

Sport Specific Nutrition Research


Sprinting, weightlifting, throwing events, and bodybuilding

Photo by jimmyharris



Updated April 27,  2017

Share This:

0 thoughts on “Research Papers On Sports Nutrition”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *