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Stirling sport professor considers nutritional developments on Landward

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Professor Kevin Tipton
Professor Kevin Tipton

Sport nutrition expert Professor Kevin Tipton indulges in a healthy eating extravaganza on BBC Scotland programme Landward this Friday (20 April).

Professor Tipton is the Chair of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences and leads the University’s Health and Exercise Sciences Research Group. He has contributed to sport nutrition programmes for the International Olympic Committee and FIFA amongst others.

On Friday’s BBC2 Scotland programme, however, he faced an altogether different challenge, offering advice on the nutritional value of ingredients that could be incorporated into dishes created by Landward presenter and leading chef Nick Nairn.

Across the next three episodes, Tipton considers a starter, main course and dessert, opening with a borsch, otherwise known as beetroot soup.

He said: “I was asked to look at new developments in sport nutrition and how certain ingredients can be effective when eaten in general foods rather than solely in nutritional supplements.

“The first nutrient that I suggested was a chemical called nitrate, found largely in vegetables, including beetroot. The last few years have seen studies done showing that nitrate can improve the efficiency with which muscles use oxygen during exercise.

“These studies suggest that exercise capacity and potentially performance can be enhanced by consuming nitrate, often in the form of beetroot juice, for several days before exercise. Nick chose to make borsch which could be one source of nitrate in the diet.”

Further episodes consider the importance of oily fish on muscular development and how low fat dairy protein helps athletes lose fat, but maintain muscle while dieting.

The University’s Health and Exercise Sciences Research Group was formed in 2010 and has already developed a number of key studies, with PhD student Chris McGlory recently receiving a prestigious award for his research on fish oil and muscle growth.

Tipton and his team work closely with the many athletes based at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence. And he is careful to point out the dangers in oversimplifying sport nutrition.

He added: “Athletes should individualise their nutrition to suit their individual needs, rather than follow generic nutrition advice. The nutrition needs of an athlete vary depending on their size, body composition, training type and volume, as well as competitive goals. And just as they vary their training depending on the time of the year, the nutritional intake must also be adapted accordingly.”

The first BBC2 Scotland Landward episode featuring Professor Tipton is broadcast on Friday at 7pm.

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