Ask the Expert: A Dietician's Perspective & Advice

As part of our 2012-2013 academic year series of interviews with local medical professionals on issues ranging from student athletes to healthy students.

We are excited to hear from Gretchen Kauth, MEd,RD, Coordinator, Nutrition Services at WMU’s Sindecuse Health Center. Gretchen is a Dietitian at Western Michigan University and has a special interest in sports/ performance nutrition. She works with athletes of all ages and abilities: adult weekend warriors, college age dance majors, Division I athletes, those training for marathons/triathlons, and high school athletic teams striving to be the best they can be. She interacts with individual athletes and teams at Western, and works closely with the WMU athletic training staff to ensure coordinated care for their student athletes.

When working with athletes to improve their diet, what factors do you take into consideration when helping them come up with an appropriate meal plan?

“The goal of proper nutrition for an athlete should be to obtain energy (carbohydrate, protein and fat), fluid, and associated nutrients (vitamins, minerals) in the right amounts and at the right time to fuel their performance as well as promote overall health and well being.

“There are many considerations that go into developing an effective food/fluid plan that can help an athlete optimize their performance. Each athlete has unique requirements based on multiple factors such as:

  • Physical and psychological health history, including any history of disordered eating/eating disorders
  • Social history – living situation, financial resources, etc
  • Gender Body size, body composition, muscle-type predominance
  • Sport/exercise intensity and duration/ training demands
  • Performance goals
  • Environmental conditions (temperature, humidity)
  • Current diet including fluids and supplements.”

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