Tennis: Protein, Gluten and Nutrition

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Tennis: Protein, Gluten and Nutrition

In our continuing quest to come to terms with nutrition in tennis, we decided to talk to Dr. Maurizio Tommasini, a Nutritionist and Biologist who is in expert in sports nutrition.

He has certainly become an authority on the subject when it comes to tennis, and has some interesting ideas which will no doubt help players who are looking for a physical edge.

Here the questions we asked to Dr. Tommasini

1• Dr. Tommasini, let’s start with this: in nutrition, it is very important to plan and execute your diet in a timely way. Is there a reference model from which every player can extract ideas, or is it better to work on a person-by-person basis with a nutritionist in order to come up with a good diet?

2• Animal and plant proteins: many guidelines suggest dividing them on a 50-50 basis. But can animal and vegetable proteins be replaced in such high percentages without consequence? To lean so heavily on cereals and legumes (in order to get all the essential amino acids) could mean that one takes in too many carbohydrates. So, how many proteins should we eat with food, and what should the relationship between animal and vegetable proteins be?

3• High protein diet: is it advisable in certain situations?

4• Often we talk about the importance of consuming lots of carbohydrates in the days before a competition, especially in endurance sports (e.g. marathon). What is the correct way to approach this?

5• In a sport like tennis, what diet should one follow just before a tournament? What is the correct amount of daily protein to consume?

6• Gluten: is it correct to limit cereals containing gluten, or is it only for people suffering from gluten intolerance? Moreover, there is a bit of confusion about the concept of gluten. In nature, cereals do not contain gluten, as this is formed when the flour of different cereals (excluding those that do not contain prolammins) comes into contact with the water to produce dough. Therefore, does eating barley, oats, etc. in whole grains (not previously reduced in flour) mean you are not consuming gluten, or are you effectively eating gluten since you are introducing its components (prolamines and glutenins)?

Read the reply by Dr. Tommasini