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Female Soccer Players Perform Best On A High-Fat Diet, UB Study Finds

st during the peanut diet -- 35 percent -- versus 24 percent on the energy-bar diet. Protein and calorie intake, and caloric expenditure remained essentially the same across the three diets.

Endurance testing was designed to mimic soccer play, using constant speed running and running at different rates on a treadmill, plus forward running with a side-step maneuver performed on a force plate. The athletes were tested until exhaustion on the seventh day of each diet. Treadmill speed increased progressively, which meant the longer the athletes performed, the harder they had to work.

Results showed that the soccer players traveled about 15 percent farther on the peanut diet than on normal diet with or without energy bars, with no lessening of muscle performance, as measured by the force plate.

"When women consumed the high-fat diet, they performed longer at the highest intensity," Horvath said. Distances were 11.2 km on the high-fat diet, 10 km on the normal diet and 9.7 km on the high-carbohydrate diet.

"These results support our thesis that supplementing the diets of female athletes with peanuts or other fat sources can help build up their energy reserves and improve performance," Horvath said. "A low-fat diet may result in a poorer performance for women in a long, intermittently intense sport like soccer, especially during the later phase of the menstrual cycle."

Additional researchers on the study were Rita Genovese, Barbara O'Reilly, Renee Melton-Bork and Louise Gilchrist, Ph.D., all of the UB Department of Physical Therapy, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, and John Leddy, M.D., UB clinical assistant professor of orthopaedics and assistant director of UB's Sports Medicine Institute.

The study was funded by a grant from Shear/Kershman Lab, Inc.


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Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
716-645-2626
University at Buffalo
19-Apr-1999


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