Nutrition in Italy

Topics: Dietary supplement, Dietary supplements, Vitamin Pages: 14 (4440 words) Published: May 16, 2013
Bianco et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2011, 8:25


Open Access

Protein supplementation in strength and conditioning adepts: knowledge, dietary behavior and practice in Palermo, Italy Antonino Bianco1,4*, Caterina Mammina2, Antonio Paoli3, Marianna Bellafiore1, Giuseppe Battaglia4, Giovanni Caramazza4, Antonio Palma1,4 and Monèm Jemni5

Background: It is known that supplement use is a widespread and accepted practice by athletes and people who attend commercial gyms. Little is known about protein supplement amongst people undertaking strength training in commercial gyms in Italy when compared to the US. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the use of protein supplementation, alone or in association with other supplements, and dietary behavior amongst regular fitness center attendees in Palermo, Italy. Design: Resistance training information have been collected from 800 regular fitness center attendees for the initial analysis. A specific questionnaire was generated for the experimentation. Data were collected using a face-toface interview method. Supplement users were then compared to the non users and analyzed using a one-way ANOVA, Kruskall-Wallis, chi-square test or exact test of Fisher when appropriate. Results: 30.1% of the respondents use dietary supplements during their training as a believe it is the “way to gain muscles and strength”. Whey protein shakes (50.0%) mixed with creatine and amino-acids (48.3%) were the most frequent choices amongst the users. A majority of the subjects (34.0%) appeared to rely on their gym instructors’ advice for their intake; a lower proportion (13.0%) consulted physicians, while none of them consulted nutritionists. A high consumption of milk has been noticed in both users (67,7%) and non-users (52,8%); supplement non-users consumed significantly more snacks and bakery products than users per week (P < 0.001), while users consumed significantly more protein-rich foods (P 0.01) with a particular preference for meat (48.0%). Conclusions: A considerable number of regular strength training adepts consume protein supplements mixed with other products (mainly creatine and amino-acids). Limited numbers consult “dietary specialists” and rely mainly on their instructors. We emphasize on the importance of the dissemination of scientifically based information about supplementation in this environment and the promotion of updated educational programs for the instructors.

Introduction Nutrition is traditionally perceived as a crucial component of physical fitness and performance. In the last few decades, the increasing understanding of human nutrition and its effects on the metabolism have led to a wiser management of the intake and the subsequent sport performance. * Correspondence: 1 Department of Sports and Exercise Science (DISMOT), University of Palermo, via Eleonora Duse, 2, 90146, Palermo, Italy Full list of author information is available at the end of the article

Global supplement use in athletes is estimated to range from 40% to 88% [1-5], with over 30.000 supplements being commercially-available in the United States (US) [3-5]. More than 3 million people in the US alone are using or have used ergogenic supplements [4-7] believing they may enhance their strength and physical performances. These are also widespread amongst athletes at high school and collegiate levels. However, evidence suggests that supplements might be beneficial only for small subgroups of people [7-11].

© 2011 Bianco et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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