Scientific and technical assistance on food intended for sportspeople

Question Number
EFSA-Q-2015-00403
Issued
24 September 2015
Abstract
The European Commission asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to compile existing scientific advice in the area of nutrition and health claims and Dietary Reference Values for adults that is relevant to sportspeople and to inform the Commission on how such scientific advice relates to the different conclusions and specifications of the report of the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) of 2001 on the composition and specification of food intended to meet the expenditure of intense muscular effort, especially for sportspeople. The scientific advice provided by the SCF and the subsequent scientific advice of EFSA do not differ regarding: a) the essential role of carbohydrate intake in relation to physical performance, and particularly in relation to the recovery of normal muscle function after strenuous exercise, and the role of vitamin B1 on carbohydrate metabolism; b) the role of hydration and carbohydrate supply in the maintenance of physical performance during endurance exercise, as well as on the role of electrolytes (particularly sodium) in the maintenance of adequate hydration during exercise and in post-exercise re-hydration; c) the essential role of protein in the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, and the role of vitamin B6 in protein metabolism; d) the essential role of micronutrients and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids on body functions which may impact either athletic performance or specific health risks for athletes; e) the ergogenic properties of caffeine in endurance exercise; and f) the ergogenic effects of creatine in physical performance during short-term, high-intensity, repeated exercise bouts (i.e. in sports that require explosive, high-energy output activities especially of a repeated nature). In addition, EFSA completed the task of establishing Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for vitamins and minerals initiated by the SCF and provided advice on the safety of caffeine, also when consumed prior to intense physical exercise. 
Published in the EFSA Journal
29 September 2015