Science - March 11, 2004

De Bongerd celebrates 25th anniversary

People who do a lot of sports have no need of vitamin and mineral supplements. Healthy living and a diet containing enough carbohydrates before a race are generally speaking enough, according to Professor Gertjan Schaafsma.

Schaafsma gave a talk last Monday on sport and diet, as part of the twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations of the university sports centre De Bongerd. Schaafsma, who works in the sub-department of Human Nutrition, claimed that special protein preparations are unnecessary, as a normal diet contains more than enough protein. He added that there is no proof that performance is improved by taking vitamin and mineral supplements. Athletes also have little to gain from isotonic drinks said Schaafsma: “You can just as well drink water and eat a banana.”

Besides eating healthily and increasing the carbohydrate content before a match or race, the best way to improve your performance is plain hard training. This improves your oxygen uptake, you burn more fat and therefore use your carbohydrate stores more efficiently. “It’s when your glycogen store is empty that you are done for.”

The week of celebrations closes on Friday with the opening of a ‘wall of fame’ dedicated to athletes and sportsmen and -women who have won national or international prizes while studying in Wageningen.

Yvonne de Hilster