Dietary intakes of professional and semi-professional team sport athletes do not meet sport nutrition recommendations—A systematic literature review Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: to develop sport-specific and effective dietary advice, it is important to understand the dietary intakes of team sport athletes. This systematic literature review aims to (1) assess the dietary intakes of professional and semi-professional team sport athletes and (2) to identify priority areas for dietetic intervention. Methods: an extensive search of MEDLINE, Sports DISCUS, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Scopus databases in April–May 2018 was conducted and identified 646 studies. Included studies recruited team sport, competitive (i.e., professional or semi-professional) athletes over the age of 18 years. An assessment of dietary intake in studies was required and due to the variability of data (i.e., nutrient and food group data) a meta-analysis was not undertaken. Two independent authors extracted data using a standardised process. Results: 21 (n = 511) studies that assessed dietary intake of team sport athletes met the inclusion criteria. Most reported that professional and semi-professional athletes’ dietary intakes met or exceeded recommendations during training and competition for protein and/or fat, but not energy and carbohydrate. Limitations in articles include small sample sizes, heterogeneity of data and existence of underreporting. Conclusions: this review highlights the need for sport-specific dietary recommendations that focus on energy and carbohydrate intake. Further exploration of factors influencing athletes’ dietary intakes including why athletes’ dietary intakes do not meet energy and/or carbohydrate recommendations is required.

publication date

  • 2019