For most college students, the art of balancing a nutritious diet and hectic schedules is more than just a challenge. But what about the baseball team captain, a sprinter, or a running back for the football team? Is the challenge for them more difficult or easily conquered?
Corey Cameron, 22, a senior accounting student from Fort Lauderdale, said athletes in general do not have great diets.
“A lot of us don’t know how to formulate a good diet,” Cameron said.
He said athletes living off-campus have a more difficult time creating the right kind of diet compared to those who live on-campus.
“Those who live on campus have a better chance of having a good diet because the food in the cafeteria is supposed to have more nutrition value,” said Cameron, who runs the 200 and 400 meter races for the men’s track team. “The ones that live off-campus tend to buy whatever is on sale instead of what’s good for them.”
Dara Wise, 20, a junior business administration student from Altamonte Springs, advised athletes to be more aware of the food pyramid. She says she she tries to eat foods according to it.
“I make sure I eat breakfast every morning. I’ll eat waffles or oatmeal,” said Wise, who is a long distance and mile runner for the women’s track team.
She also takes a multi-vitamin every morning to ensure she gets her daily amount of vitamins and minerals.
Dr. Freddy Kaye, a FAMU nutrition professor and local nutritionist, said athletes need to eat more complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates, by definition, are long chains of sugar units arranged to form a starch or fiber, whereas simple carbohydrates are sugars, including both single sugar units and linked pairs of sugar units. Examples of complex carbohydrates include pastas, wheat base foods and simple carbohydrate sugars.
In addition, Kaye said that no particular sex has a better nutritional diet than the other, however he does have some tips for female athletes.
“Female athletes need more iron in their diet because of their menstrual cycles,” Kaye said. “If they take vitamin C on a regular basis, they will absorb 50 percent more iron.”