Nutrition for sport and health

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
MED/49 MED/50
Learning objectives
The course provides knowledge on the importance of nutritional status for maintaining an organism healthy and able to meet the energy demands of physical activity. Nutritional regimens for adequate nutrient supply based on the classification of sports and the risks and benefits of supplementation will be examined. The principles underpinning the methods for assessing nutritional status and needs of the population and the individual will be analyzed.
Expected learning outcomes
Students will acquire the necessary skills to assess: 1) adequate energy supply, correct distribution and timing of nutrient intake according to nutritional regimens for athletes during training, competition, and recovery; 2) appropriate use of dietary supplements and their mechanisms of action. Students will acquire knowledge about guidelines for a healthy, correct diet, different types of diets, and adjustments for athletes with special dietary needs (celiac disease, vegan).
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Teaching will be face-to-face in the classroom, within the limit of employability allowed by the university regulations (…).
Remote access to educational materials will also be guaranteed (
Course syllabus
Food Science in Sport and Physical Exercise.
Homeostasis and adaptation.

Energy and macronutrients:
. Carbohydrates:
Structure, digestion and intestinal absorption;
Fibers and health,
Gut microbiota: function and modulation by diet and exercise.
Carbohydrate homeostasis:
GLUTs and SGLTs transporters
Hormone function: insulin and glucagon
Glycemic load and glycemic index.
Metabolic differences between fructose and glucose.
Structure, digestion and intestinal absorption.
Fat adaptation in well-trained athletes
Intramuscular triglyceride metabolism in exercising muscle
Metabolic adaptation: nutritional strategies to promoting fat utilization and delaying the onset of fatigue.
Structure, digestion and intestinal absorption;
Proteins nutritional value;
Protein turnover.
Protein and high quality Weight Loss in Elite Athletes.
Protein recommendations: serving-by-serving basis or daily basis?

. Sports nutrition
The importance of protein for athletes.
Carbohydrate requirements and their influence on glycemia.
Effect of fibres on fatigue: resistant starches
Lipid metabolism and intensity of physical activity.
Feeding before the race: the week before
Feeding before the race: 3-4 hours earlier
Feeding during the race
Feeding after the race

.Sports supplements
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Beta alanine.
Sodium bicarbonate.

Balance of water supply
Preventing dehydration in sport: osmolarity, absorption rate and gastric emptying.
Hydration schemes for sports practice.
Sport drinks and abuse damage.

Introduction to Dietary Reference Values for Italians LARN 2014
Rationale and definition of the dietary reference values
Scientific approach for identifying the reference values AR, PRI and AI
Extrapolation of reference values in relation to gender and different ages
Food portion and examples
Examples of practical application of the Italian DRVs

Food based dietary guidelines (FBDG) for healthy and balanced nutrition
EFSA's indications for the definition of the national FBDG
The epidemiological data underlying the definition of the Italian FBDG
The evolution of the iconography of the guidelines (from the pyramid to the eat well guide)
A new perspective: the environmental impact of food consumption

The Mediterranean diet
The 9 Mediterranean rules
From the Seven Countries Study to nowadays: analysis of changes in food consumption
Indices of adherence to the Mediterranean diet and their use in nutrition research
Mediterranean diet and health

Vegetarian diet / Vegan diet
Description of the different vegetarian diets
Pro and cons of vegetable-based diets for human health
The vegetarian diet in sportsmen

· Metabolic adaptation to endurance
· Strategies in sport nutrition to support concurrent training (strength + endurance)
· Diet-exercise strategies to manipulate sul availability for training and competition preparation in endurance sport
· Nutritional strategies in team sports
Prerequisites for admission
Previous knowledge of elements of human anatomy, physiology, metabolism and endocrinology.
Teaching methods
Frontal lectures with slides projection. Attendance is compulsory.
Teaching Resources
Reference material is presented during frontal lectures (slides and scientific articles). Lecture slides will be uploaded to the Ariel portal.
Recommended reference texts:
- Livelli di Assunzione di riferimento di nutrienti ed energia per la popolazione italiana LARN - IV revision 2014; Editor SICS; Author: Società Italiana di Nutrizione Umana.
- Linee guida per una sana alimentazione - revision 2018; Author: CREA Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria - Centro di ricerca alimenti e nutrizione.
Available at:…
Assessment methods and Criteria
Written exam with 30 multiple choice questions (0,7 points for each correct answer) and 2 open questions covering the course content (max. 4.5 points for each satisfactory answer); 90 minutes duration.
To pass the exam, the total grade must be at least 18/30.
MED/49 - FOOD AND DIETETIC SCIENCES - University credits: 3
Practicals: 24 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
by appointment
LITA (Segrate)
by appointment
DeFENS Via Giuseppe Colombo 62 ,Milano