Date of Award

Summer 7-22-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dan Benardot, PhD, DHC, RD, LD, FACSM

Second Advisor

Anita Nucci, PhD, RD, LD

Third Advisor

Walter R. Thompson, PhD, FACSM


Purpose: To assess the dietary intake and body composition of recreational and competitive female athletes, for the purpose of analyzing the relationships between macronutrient intake and body composition.. The main aim was to determine the relationship between caloric intake, carbohydrate (CHO) intake and protein intake with body fat percentage in active females. Methods: Using an IRB approved protocol, 44 volunteer female recreational and competitive athletes 18 years of age or older were recruited. Interviews were conducted to gather information on within day energy balance by assessing the time and amount of foods/beverages consumed, and the duration and intensity (using a Rating of Perceived Exertion scale) of activity performed on the day of assessment. All analyses were performed using Nutritiming™ (Calorie and Pulse Technologies, Atlanta, GA) to assess energy surpluses, energy deficits, and end of day energy balance. Information on date of birth, race/ethnicity, menstrual status, sleep and wake times, and prior diagnoses of metabolic disease and/or eating disorders were collected at the time of the interview. Height was assessed using a standard stadiometer. Weight and body composition were assessed via Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) using InBody 230 (BioSpace Co. USA). The BIA assessment was performed to determine body fat percentage, Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Body Mass Index (BMI), segmental body composition, and fat and lean mass in kilograms. Nutrient data were derived using an interviewer-led, 24-hour recall. Results: CHO intake/kg total mass was significantly and inversely correlated with body fat percentage and BMI, (p=0.018 and p=0.001 respectively). Protein intake/kg total mass was also inversely and significantly correlated with body fat percentage (p=0.006). Fat intake was not significantly associated with BMI, body fat percent, or lean mass in kilograms. Total energy intake/kg total mass was inversely associated with BMI (p=0.001), with fat mass (p=0.001), and with body fat percentage, (p=0.001). CHO intake/kg total mass was positively associated with the total number of hours spent in an anabolic (i.e., EB>0) state (p=0.001), and was inversely associated with the total number of hours spent in a catabolic (i.e., EB < 0) state (p=0.001). CHO intake/kg total mass was the only substrate to be significantly correlated with the number of hours spent ± 400 kcal EB over a 24 hour period (p=0.001). Z-scores were created to establish categories of body composition and energy balance values. Utilizing Chi-Square tests, it was determined that more hours spent in an energy surplus (> 400kcal) was associated with higher body fat percent (p=0.042). Conclusions: CHO restriction, whether done intentionally or as a function of an energy restrictive intake, was commonly observed in this subject pool. Of the females surveyed, 79% did not meet their daily energy needs and, on average, consumed 49% of the recommended daily intake of CHO established for active people. The findings that subjects with lower CHO intakes had higher body fat levels, and that CHO was associated with improved maintenance of energy balance, which was also associated with lower body fat percent, suggest that physically active women should not restrict CHO to achieve a desired body composition. It was also observed that end-of-day energy balance was not associated with either energy substrate consumption or body composition.


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Nutrition Commons