Author Archives: Nicki de Villiers - Registered Dietician

Sport supplements and young athletes: part 2 – Performance Boosters

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Following our first article in this series, which focused on energy-related supplements, this 2nd article focuses on supplements that are deemed to boost performance. CAFFEINE Athletes often take caffeine through the intake of energy drinks, sports drinks or coke before and during training or competition. Claims: Caffeine will enhance endurance, performance, concentration, motivation and mental […]

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Sport supplements and young athletes, part 1- Carbo Kick

Carbo Pic

Many young athletes take nutritional supplements, often without really knowing what they are or how they work. Do young athletes really need supplements? Are they likely to benefit or harm their performance? What are the possible effects on long-term health? The fact that many adult athletes take supplements does not mean they are safe or […]

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Body image and eating disorders among adolescents 3

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Prevention Strategies In this our final article in the series we look at prevention strategies and some educational messages. Prevention is better than cure and strategies to prevent disordered eating should be implemented early to avoid body image dissatisfaction. It is more difficult to change unhealthy eating behaviour and disturbed body image attitudes once established. […]

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Body image and eating disturbances among adolescents 2

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In this 2nd part in the series we look at the causes and warning signs of eating disorders, how it affects performance and how to assist an athlete who presents with an eating disorder. Causes of Eating Disorders in young Athletes There is no single cause of eating disorders or disordered eating in young athletes. […]

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Body image and eating disturbances among adolescents 1

body image 1

This is the first in a 3 part series on the subject of body image and eating disturbances which affects a number of young sports people. Young people are constantly bombarded with messages and images of the ideal body. This ideal body is often portrayed as unrealistically thin or overly muscular. In contrast to this […]

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Hype about hydration 2

Girl and water bottle

In this second article on hydration we focus on some practical guidelines to ensure adequate hydration, including what, how much and when to drink. PREVENTING DEHYDRATION How Much Fluid? There are no official guidelines for fluid intake, although many health professionals advise children and adolescents to drink 1.5 litres per day (1) or to drink […]

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Hype about hydration 1

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This is the first part of a 2 part series on hydration and will focus on the need for adequate hydration and recognising dehydration in the young athlete. The importance of adequate fluid intake in sports is to avoid dehydration and maintain normal heart function and thermoregulatory (ability of the body to deal with heat) […]

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Bone health in adolescents – Part 2

Bone Xray

Calcium Needs during the Growth Spurt and Low Bone Density Last week we looked at skeletal growth and the factors that influence skeletal growth particularly during the adolescent stage. Two of the factors affecting skeletal growth are physical activity and nutrition, specifically the need for calcium. We looked at calcium sources, the amount of calcium […]

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Bone health in adolescents

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Calcium Needs during the Growth Spurt and Low Bone Density Calcium is one of the essential minerals in the body and has many functions. One of its key functions is in relation to the development of bone particularly during adolescents. In this article we address the factors affecting skeletal growth and the role of nutrition […]

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Feeding active kids 3

Feeding Active Kids 3 - cereal

Our third and final article in the series Feeding Active Kids focuses on eating for competition days and multi-event competition. Article one and article two are also available. COMPETITION DAY The night before Ensure sufficient carbohydrate intake and appropriate fluid intake. Keep food simple and include carbohydrates, some protein foods and plenty of nourishing drinks. […]

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Feeding Active Kids 2

Snack foods

This is the second article of three in our current series, “Feeding Active Kids.” In our first article we looked at the need for proper nutrition to optimise growth and development as well as how to include adequate carbohydrate, protein and fat in your active kid’s diet. If you missed it, click here. In this […]

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Feeding Active Kids 1

Lunchbox ideas

It is important for active kids to develop a healthy relationship with food and recognize the value of healthy eating in exercise performance. In this series of 3 articles we seek to provide you with practical tips to assist you in providing your children with the required nutrition for an active life. In this article […]

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