Edited by Ira Wolinksy and Judy Driskell 272 pp, $119.95 Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 2007 ISBN-13: 978-0-8493-7950-5 This is one of several books by these editors to provide up-to-date information regarding sports nutrition issues. This book happens to focus on several aspects of energy metabolism, with discussions authored by respected scientists. According to the editors, the book is intended to “provide the reader in-depth exploration of important topics that will be of interest to healing and nutrition professionals of all walks.” For the most part, the book lives up to that intention. The introductory chapter—which is excellent and a must-read for those interested in energy metabolism from a sport perspective—is followed by 3 sections, with associated chapters in each. The authors go into sufficient biochemical, metabolic, and/or physiological detail to explain their view of each area. To that end, they tend to do so in a way that is relatively straightforward, enabling readers of all levels to follow the material presented. Furthermore, the scientific details and references within each chapter are useful and provide the reader with an opportunity to learn why and how certain diets and foods, for example, are used, recommended, or even avoided. To that end, the chapter on protein (“Utilization of Proteins in Energy Metabolism”) was exceptionally well written and provides the reader with multiple views regarding protein in sport and exercise—from protein synthesis issues to regulation of gluconeogenesis via amino acid concentrations in the blood. In section 1, “Energy-Yielding Nutrients,” the authors review the utilization of the 3 primary nutrients metabolized during athletic competition and training. The authors of these chapters thoroughly review each nutrient in a manner that should allow most sports nutrition enthusiasts to follow the discussion, while incorporating important metabolic concepts. For example, in chapter 3, the authors combine useful tables and figures illustrating and concisely describing fat metabolism and the factors that regulate it. Overall, this section provides a thorough and current review of each respective macronutrient. This section would be a great reference for readers looking for an exercise or sport-specific application for these nutrients. In section 2, “Estimation of Energy Requirements,” the authors of each chapter (one on laboratory methods and one using field methods) describe the different methods of estimation and present the respective strengths and weaknesses of each. For the laboratory methods, the authors discuss direct and indirect spirometry and their application, various ergometers, resting energy expenditure issues, the maximal metabolic rate and anaerobic threshold, and movement economy. The field-test section covers direct and indirect measures of energy expenditure and physical activity. They also include a section on the measurement of physical inactivity. In section 3, “Physiological Aspects of Energy Expenditure,” the chapters review issues pertaining to dietary fiber and weight management, age and sex differences, and body weight regulation. This section reasonably touched on the issues of body weight and its regulation. However, while not specifically an energy metabolism issue, a chapter discussing the role of body composition in relation to performance and health would help keep the concepts in perspective. For example, the chapter discussing dietary fiber and weight regulation focused almost exclusively on obesity-related issues, with little discussion of where athletes fit in that equation. An athlete with a low body fat level might not realize or appreciate that increasing dietary fiber in an effort to optimize health might actually lead to health or performance complications if body fat level dropped too low. The book is exceptionally well written and detailed; however, the chapters occasionally focus more on exercise in general than on sports performance. That is, exercise of varying intensity and duration is discussed, but the use of sport-specific examples—especially those involving resistance training—would help translate that information for those who may not have a strong exercise science background. For example, in the carbohydrate section, when the authors are discussing how to determine carbohydrate intake, they state that “Evaluate the demands of the sporting or athletic activity, both for training and competition. If the activity is of high intensity and is repeated frequently, or it is if prolonged duration, additional manipulation of carbohydrate in the diet may be called for during appropriate time periods.” It would be helpful if sport-specific examples were provided to illustrate what the authors mean by manipulation, as well as examples of how to incorporate the appropriate information before, during, or after a specified activity. This is a great book for readers wanting current information regarding energy metabolism as applied to exercise and sport. The authors are experts in their areas, and the editorial team has organized this text into a great package. Back to top Article Information Financial Disclosures: None reported.
JAMA – American Medical Association
Published: May 21, 2008