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Taekwondo originated in the ancient Korean folk martial arts, it is your feet-based effort. Many people practice Taekwondo is not only to keep fit, also directed that a "cool" word to go. The coach standing on one end of the hand holding the foot off the target back, run-up steps after the students vacated leaps, flying sideways kick accurately hit the target foot. Seem rather thrilling action, in taekwondo in the original piece of cake.

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         Rossi, Luciana; Elen Goya, Rosecler; Veridiano Matayoshi, Magna Aparecida; Cardoso
                                  Pereira, Carla Cristine; Bernardo da Silva, Juliana


                        NUTRITIONAL EVALUATION OF TAEKWONDO ATHLETES
             Brazilian Journal of Biomotricity, Vol. 3, Núm. 2, junio-sin mes, 2009, pp. 159-166
                                             Universidade Iguaçu
                                                     Brasil

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                                                                  Brazilian Journal of Biomotricity
                                                                  marcomachado@brjb.com.br
                                                                  Universidade Iguaçu
                                                                  Brasil




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Rossi et al.: Nutritional evaluation of taekwondo athletes                               www.brjb.com.br

                                                            ORIGINAL PAPER (ARTIGO ORIGINAL)


                NUTRITIONAL EVALUATION OF
                     TAEKWONDO ATHLETES
Luciana Rossi, Rosecler Elen Goya, Magna Aparecida Veridiano Matayoshi, Carla Cristine
Cardoso Pereira, and Juliana Bernardo da Silva

Centro Universitário São Camilo.

Corresponding author:
Luciana Rossi, PhD
Centro Universitário São Camilo.
Rua Raul Pompéia, 144. Pompéia –
CEP 05025-010 – São Paulo, SP.
E-mail: lrossi@scamilo.edu.br.

Submitted for publication: March 2009
Accepted for publication: May 2009

ABSTRACT




                                                                                                                Brazilian Journal of Biomotricity, v. 3, n. 2, p. 159-166, 2009 (ISSN 1981-6324)
ROSSI, L.; GOYA, R. E.; MATAYOSHI, M. A. V.; PEREIRA, C. C. C.; SILVA, J. B. Nutritional evaluation of
taekwondo athletes. Brazilian Journal Biomotricity, v. 3, n. 2, p. 159-166, 2009. This work aimed to evaluate
food intake by Brazilian high-rank taekwondo athletes in order to assess nutritional adequacy and draw
comparisons with other sport modalities of fight. The study included five male athletes of mean age 23.4 ±
2.5 years; weight 61.8 ± 5.7 kg; stature 171.9 ± 6.2 cm; BMI 20.8 ± 0.7 kg/m2; and fat percentage 8.2 ±
3.2%. Based on a 3-day diet record, nutritional inadequacies were detected concerning protein and fiber
intake. Although the intake of most of the analyzed macro and micronutrients was adequate, an investigation
during different training/competition periods may reveal further details on the risk of a sport with weight
categories and consequent weight cycles to obtain competitive benefits, a strategy commonly reported for
other sports.
Keywords: nutrition; nutrients; nutritional recommendations; martial arts.


INTRODUCTION
Although the Orient is the cradle of martial arts, taekwondo originated in Korea over one
thousand years ago and was widely spread in the Occident (MELHIM, 2001; BOUHLEL et
al., 2006), becoming an accepted sports in Sydney 2000 Olympics (LIN et al., 2006). The
World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) establishes the rules and regulations for Olympic
competitions, besides the eight distinct weight classes (KAZEMI et al., 2005). In all
modalities presenting weight categories (boxing, judo, rowing, wrestling etc), the so-called
weight cycling, i.e. the rapid weight loss due to auto-induction by methods such as limited
food intake and/or dehydration, is extremely common. However, in taekwondo the impact
of such strategies on the athletes’ nutritional status and efficiency has been less
investigated than in other similar sports (FOGELHOLM et al., 1993; HALL & LANE, 2001;
ALDERMAN et al., 2004).
Nutritional evaluation is an important factor in diet elaboration and adhesion; a detailed
analysis of food history allows the establishment of strategies to introduce the necessary



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diet modifications, and prescriptions should be flexible and capable of transforming the
food habit (GILBERT, 2009). In addition, the following must be considered: practiced sport
modality, training phase, competition schedule, aims of the technical staff concerning
performance, data on basal metabolism and training energetic requirements, necessary
modifications in the body composition, and significant clinical factors (GILBERT, 2009;
BOUHLEL et al., 2006). In fight and combat sports, low-carbohydrate diets may
compromise the physical performance, causing negative effects; thus, the ingestion of
carbohydrate-rich foods is advisable to favor the reposition of hepatic and muscular
glycogen storage, mainly after training/competitions (KERKSICK et al., 2008). Besides,
carbohydrate consumption may reduce the negative alterations caused in the immune
system by the excessive exercise stress (NIEMAN et al., 2001), favoring therefore not only
the performance but also the mood of the athlete (ACHTEN et al., 2004).
The present work aimed to evaluate nutrient intake by Brazilian high-rank taekwondo
athletes in order to establish similarities with other martial arts and direct future nutritional
instructions to improve the sport efficiency.


MATERIALS AND METHOD
- Subjects
After free and informed consent, according to the protocol approved by the Ethics
Committee of São Camilo University Center, 5 Brazilian high-rank taekwondo male
athletes were included in the study based on the following criteria: older than 18 years,
minimum rank of black belt, training compatible with the competition purposes of the




                                                                                                    Brazilian Journal of Biomotricity, v. 3, n. 2, p. 159-166, 2009 (ISSN 1981-6324)
modality (minimum of 3x/week for 2h), and sport curriculum including participation and
awards in several national and international competitions. The mean ± standard deviation
for the variables age, body weight, stature, BMI, and fat percentage was 23.4 ± 2.5 years,
61.8 ± 5.7 kg, 171.9 ± 6.2 cm, 20.8 ± 0.7 kg/m2, and 8.2 ± 3.2%, respectively. Body density
was calculated using the equation proposed by Jackson & Pollock (1978) and fat
percentage, according to Siri (1961).
- Hydration status
The athletes were subjected to bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) using Biodynamics
310e devices to determine total body water (L), lean mass hydration percentage, and
water percentage relative to body weight.
- Dietary information
Food consumption was recorded in 3 non-consecutive days (including one day of the
weekend) and instructions were given not to alter the habits during this period (TESHIMA
et al., 2002). The record was voluntary and done by the athletes after receiving
standardized instructions from a nutritionist. To analyze energy, macro and micronutrient
intake, DietWin Profissional 2.0 Nutritional Support Software was employed.


RESULTS
Hydration status values obtained in the BIA indicated that the athletes had on average
23.8 ± 4.2 L total body water, representing 38.3 ± 3.3% body weight, 69.8 ± 0.4% in lean
mass.
In Table 1, the mean values of macro and micronutrient intake are indicated. The adopted
cutoff point for inadequate nutrient intake was below 66% of the value recommended by


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RDA or DRI, considering that a diet can be regarded as inadequate for a certain nutrient
when it provides less than 2/3 of the established values (LEVERTON, 1975).



                    Table 1- Nutrient intake by taekwondo athletes. Brazil, 2009.
                                                      Recommendation
                                     Mean (SD)                              %ADQ
                                                        20 – 30 years
          Energy (kcal)            2939.7 (576.6)                -              -
          Energy (kcal•kg-1)        48.4 (13.4)              37 – 41#           -
          Carbohydrate (g)          763 (244.1)                  -              -
          Carbohydrate
                                      7.0 (1.8)               6 – 10#           -
          (g•kg-1)
          Protein (g)               165.2 (74.3)                  -             -
          Protein (g•kg-1)           2.2 (0.8)               1.6 – 1.7#         -
          Fat (g)                   112.5 (73.7)                 -              -
          Fat (g•kg-1)               1.3 (0.5)                 1.0#             -
          Calcium (mg)             1383.5 (615.3)            1000.0**          -
          Iron (mg)                 24.5 (10.1)                 8.0*         306.2
          Vitamin A (mcg)          609.5 (312.7)              900.0*          67.7




                                                                                                    Brazilian Journal of Biomotricity, v. 3, n. 2, p. 159-166, 2009 (ISSN 1981-6324)
          Vitamin C (mg)           240.1 (147.3)               90.0*         266.7
          Vitamin E (mg)            15.0 (10.6)                15.0*         100.0
          Fiber (g)                  18.6 (4.5)               38.0**           -
          Water (mL)               1645.9 (810.4)            3700.0***         -
          %E:carbohydrates           58.9 (8.2)              60 – 70#          -
          %E: proteins               17.5 (4.6)              15 – 20#          -
          %E: fats                   23.7 (4.2)              20 – 25#          -
%ADQ= Percentage of adequacy; E= percentage of energy intake. #ADA (1993); *Lukaski (2004); **IOM
(2004) ***IOM (1998).


DISCUSSION
Data collection included only male competitive athletes. Some sport categories, such as
martial arts, have a training pattern typical for men and scarce women are inserted in this
context. This fact was also observed by Costa and collaborators (2003), who described the
predominance of the former gender in martial modalities with a probable masculinity
reaffirmation pattern.
The sampling in the present study had anthropometric profile values similar to those of
high-rank Shotokan-karate athletes (n=12), who presented 24 ± 5.8 years mean age, 68.0
± 11.1 kg weight, 172.2 ± 6.1 cm stature, 22.9 ± 2.9 kg/m2 BMI, and 10.5 ± 3.0 fat
percentage (%F) (ROSSI & TIRAPEGUI, 2007). Lin et al. (2006) recorded 19.8 ± 3.4
years, 64.5 ± 6.9 kg, 1.72 ± 0.05 m, and 19.4 ± 4.3 %F for Thai Olympic taekwondo
athletes (n=11); Kazemi et al. (2006) observed that the medalists (n=16) in Sydney
Olympics had 24.4 ± 3.3 years, 73.4 ± 12.1 kg, 1.83 ± 0.08 m, and 21.9 ± 2.4 kg/m2;


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Rossi et al.: Nutritional evaluation of taekwondo athletes                   www.brjb.com.br
Bouhlel et al. (2006) noticed that the Tunis taekwondo team (n=8) had 20.0 ± 1.0 years,
70.8 ± 6.0 kg, 179.9 ± 4.0 cm, and 11.8 ± 3.0 %F; Noorul et al. (2008) studied teenage
practitioners and recorded 18.63 ± 1.92 years, 68.29 ± 20.69 kg, 1.68 ± 7.36 m, and 21.40
± 6.30 %F for boys. Such differences among values are related to factors like body
composition, age range, training degree, protocol for obtaining fat percentage etc.
As regards food intake by taekwondo athletes, some studies indicate that energy and
nutrient demands are still inadequately fulfilled in several athletic groups, suggesting the
need of wide nutritional education since several factors intrinsic to the sport modality such
as training schedules and requirements concerning body image can influence the dietary
habits of athletes (GILBERT, 2009). Kazemi et al. (2006) investigated the pre-competition
habits of taekwondo athletes of both sexes and observed that 53% used to undergo
fasting in the days preceding competition − 33.3% of these without and 50% with liquid
ingestion − and 17% consumed only food with no liquid ingestion. Several studies describe
that when the athlete aims to rapidly lose weight before the competition (< 1 week to
hours), the most frequently employed primary strategy is dehydration (FOGELHOLM,
1994; SHIRREFFS, 2009). Brazilian taekwondo athletes were within the normal hydration
status (euhydrated), which is reached, according to BIA, when the lean mass hydration
percentage is between 69.5 and 7.5% (ROSSI et al., 2004). BIA is a reliable non-invasive
methodology to evaluate the hydration status once pre-evaluation hydration conditions are
observed (SHIRREFFS, 2003; ROSSI & TIRAPEGUI, 2001).
In wrestlers, symptoms like headaches (44%) or dizziness and nausea (42%) were
reported by those used to undergo fasting, besides hot flashes, nosebleeds, feverish
sensations, disorientation, and increased heart rate (ALDERMAN et al., 2004). As to the




                                                                                                 Brazilian Journal of Biomotricity, v. 3, n. 2, p. 159-166, 2009 (ISSN 1981-6324)
relationship between micronutrient intake and restrictive food habits in wrestlers and
judokas, there was a significant reduction concerning B-complex vitamins, as well as K,
Ca, Mg, Fe and Zn (FOLEGELHOM et al., 1993).
Mean energy intake by Brazilian athletes was 48.4 ± 13.4 kcal•kg-1•day, indicating
adequate caloric intake; FOLGELHOLM (1994) stated that a moderate energy restriction
for fight athletes is between 25 and 33 kcal•kg-1•day-1. According to ADA’s
recommendations (2001) for individuals practicing intense physical activity, energetic
requirements can range from 2000 to 6000 kcal•day-1, confirming the adequacy of the data
obtained in the present study, 2939.7 ± 576.6 kcal•day-1. Other works indicate that,
although there is depletion of some nutrients, if an energy intake compatible with the
modality expenditure is kept, the efficiency is not affected (FOLGHELHOM et al., 1993,
KAZEMI et al., 2005; SMITH et al., 2001, ROSSI et al., 2004). The opposite was observed
for judo athletes, who had reduced efficiency and mood alterations when subjected to
energy restriction (DEGOUTTE et al., 2006).
As regards macronutrient intake, satisfactory values were obtained for carbohydrates and
fats, whereas proteins were excessive according to ADA (2001). Carbohydrates were
consumed following the recommendations, a very important fact concerning martial arts
since the physical efforts required by this modality are of high intensity and short duration,
presenting the lactic anaerobic route as the main energy supply route (DEGOUTTE et al.,
2003) and glucose, especially from muscular glycogen, as the main energetic substrate
(MELHIM, 2001). Although the ideal consumption for taekwondo has not been established,
a low intake may prevent the resynthesis of glycogen, and less than 500 g/day is an
insufficient quantity to replace post-training losses (DEGOUTTE et al., 2003).
Protein intake by athletes was already reported to be between 4.0 and 6.0 g•kg-1•day-1
(LEMON, 2000), which clearly represents an excess. For the general population, protein


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Rossi et al.: Nutritional evaluation of taekwondo athletes                    www.brjb.com.br
intake of >1.6 g•kg-1•day-1 could be considered high and 2.4 g•kg-1•day-1, extremely high
(ROSSI et al., 2004). According to LEMON (2000), for strength athletes, protein intake
should be between 1.4 and 1.8, possibly reaching 2.0, and above 2.4 g•kg-1•day-1 the
oxidation of amino acids increase, without additional lean mass gain (ROSSI &
TIRAPEGUI, 2000). In another work with Japanese karate athletes, protein intake was
89.8 ± 24.5 g•day-1 or 1.38 ± 0.46 g•kg-1•day-1 due to their low ingestion of red meat, milk
and byproducts (TESHIMA et al., 2002).
The higher the competitive degree of taekwondo athletes, the greater the demand for
aerobic and anaerobic metabolisms, which will determine the participation of lipids as
energetic substrate (BOUHLEL et al., 2006). In general, the dietary intake of lipids by
athletes and practitioners of physical activity should not exceed 30% of the diet energetic
value or 1 g•kg-1•day-1; the proportions among essential fatty acids maintain 10% of
saturated, polyunsaturated and monoinsaturated (ADA, 1993). In the present study, the
mean of 1.3 ± 0.5 g•kg-1•day-1 intake, corresponding to 23.7 ± 4.2% TCV (total caloric
value) is adequate; however, in the studies of Degoutte et al. (2003) and Teshima et al.
(2002) with martial art athletes, the ingestion of this nutrient tended to be excessive.
In scientific literature, there are scarce studies related to fiber intake; the work of Teshima
et al. (2002) reported that Japanese karatekas had inadequacy of food source intake,
which was probably higher than that of taekwondo athletes, 9.0 ± 2.9 vs 18.6 ± 4.5 g•day-1,
respectively.
As regards micronutrients, ADA (2001) emphasizes that they play an important role in
energy production, hemoglobin synthesis, bone health maintenance, immune function
adequacy, and body tissue protection against oxidative damages, besides helping the




                                                                                                  Brazilian Journal of Biomotricity, v. 3, n. 2, p. 159-166, 2009 (ISSN 1981-6324)
construction and repair of muscular tissue following the exercise. Recommendations are
that the current values of Dietary Reference Intake (IOM, 200; IOM, 2001) are appropriate
to the needs of athletes (MANORE, 2000; LUKASKI, 2004); however, additional care
should be given to martial art athletes such as those of the present study who, due to the
maintenance or reaching of the minimum weight for the category, are at risk of inadequacy
associated with certain prejudicial behaviors: energetic restriction to lose weight, exclusion
of food groups due to beliefs or wrong nutritional knowledge, high intake of high glycemic
index carbohydrates, diets of low energetic density etc (BONCI et al., 2008). Literature
suggests that the main inadequacies concerning micronutrients, due to such practices by
taekwondo athletes, are related to the intake of calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and B-
complex vitamins (KAZEMI et al., 2005). Hydrosoluble vitamins catalyze several
biochemical reactions and, although not direct energy sources, are indispensible to obtain
energy for the metabolism (WOOLF & MANORE, 2006; LUKASKI, 2004). Brazilian
athletes present adequacy and low risk of marginal micronutrient intake, evidenced by the
variety and diversity of the food composition.


CONCLUSION
The evaluation of food intake demonstrated that taekwondo athletes are not at risk of
nutritional inadequacy, except for the high intake of dietary proteins and the inadequate
quantity of fibers. These results need further investigation as to meal time and nutrient
combinations, since there is evidence of benefits in the prescription of this combination to
potentiate the efficiency in trainings or sportive events. Associated with the training and the
international projection of Brazilian athletes, an adequate and varied diet can improve the
efficiency of practitioners and athletes of this Olympic modality that has been increasingly
developed in Brazil and in the world.


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