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From The CriticsReviewer: Allison Maurer, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS (University of Tennessee at Knoxville)
Description: This overview of the role of supplements in sports performance and enhancement focuses on food first, but really describes how supplements can fit into an individual's active lifestyle, whether a recreational or highly competitive athlete. It also goes into detail about how supplement laws came into effect and how those laws can help guide an individual to make the best choices in what supplements to take. It teaches readers how to be savvy consumers and how to properly educate themselves on what is a safe supplement, what is actually necessary for improved performance, and how food can assist supplements in achieving the desired goals.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide detailed analysis of nutritional supplementation supported by, whenever possible, replicated scientific research regarding sports and exercise performance. There are many myths and misconceptions about what nutritional supplementation is and how those supplements are really meant to be used, and this book is needed because so many people are trying to find that extra edge. The book meets the objectives well, with discussions of supplements supported by appropriate, current, and up-to-date research.
Audience: According to the authors, the audience includes sports nutritionists, athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, personal trainers and health practitioners. The book would be a great resource for any health professional who works with active individuals on a regular basis. An additional audience may be individuals who are active at many different levels and who regularly choose nutritional supplements to enhance performance. However, although some readers could grasp the concepts, most will not take the time to read the way they should to really understand what the book is trying to accomplish. The authors are experienced in the field of sports nutrition and nutritional supplements.
Features: The book covers the supplement laws and how they affect the standards of nutritional supplements that we see on store shelves every day. It also discusses the importance of food as fuel and how supplements can work together with food to improve performance. It breaks down the use of supplements for everyone from distance/endurance athletes and body builders to those trying to lose weight and weekend warriors. The topic that receives the most attention is nutritional supplement combinations and their role with food. One of the best features of the book is the way the authors cite research to prove or disprove claims made for certain supplements. In addition, many of the authors have written books about the topics/chapters they have contributed to this book. In fact, the most unique feature of this book is the list of contributors. It is essential that those in the field of sports nutrition and supplementation come together and create a well written book that highlights these important aspects of sports performance. The quality of the book is apparent in the way the authors focus on food as the primary source of supplementation and discuss issues athletes might have with contamination. The only shortcoming is that the book does get a little repetitive at some points.
Assessment: This high quality book can be read and understood by many different people in the health professions and those who are very interested in their own supplementation strategies. This book will be very useful to me in my profession as I encounter questions regarding nutritional supplements on a daily basis. It teaches readers how to self-educate and how to identify false and misleading claims, something I have not seen in any other books. It is also better than others in the field because it does not go into such depth that readers get lost, but it does provide more detail than just the basics of nutritional supplements. This book can complement many nutritional strategies and many other sports nutrition books and should be in the library of any health professionals who work with the active population.