Do you know about the number of medals won by India in The Olympics?  The first Modern Olympics were held in 1896 in Athens, and were meant to be a representation of athletes and games, where countries from around the globe would send in their very best to win what was, is and will always be the most prestigious medal in athletics and sports i.e. The Olympic Gold.  Now here is the answer to the question asked above. India has won a total of 28 medals in the Olympics including a meagre 9 Golds. Now if we compare it to the number of medals U.S.A. has won, the numbers will shock and bewilder you for sure. U.S.A. has a total tally of 2828 medals including 1127 Golds. Now you might say that comparing the facilities that the latter has is not fair to our nation, and yes you are right. Infrastructure, funding, exposure all might be valid points, but today we shall be touching upon a topic that is more crucial than any of these and is really critical for the conditioning of the athletes, and that topic is NUTRITION.

India is mainly known as a country of Cricket. But the ground reality is that while only a lucky few wear the blue jersey with INDIA written on it, many athletes annually wear the Indian Blazer and represent us in sporting events around the globe but never get the recognition they deserve. While cricketers get all the facilities and luxuries, like Personal Dietitians, Physiotherapists, the other athletes in a majority of disciplines never even get close to getting these facilities. Nutrition in India, especially in the field of sports,is a grossly overlooked topic.Recent studies have only proven this. Sports Nutrition as a discipline is taken very seriously in countries like U.S.A. and Australia and these sporting communities invest a lot in this. These nations invest a lot into the research and implementation of nutrition in sports and start working on budding athletes right from their adolescence. The overall value of the Sports Nutrition Industry Globally is around the 25 billion dollars mark, whereas in India it is still stuck at 1 to 1.5 billion dollars. These numbers clearly point out to the state of value of Sports Nutrition in our country.  Future athletes are identified according to the sport they would be taking up and their diets are planned accordingly. Not only their protein requirements, carb intake, fat balancing is taken care of, but a very minute work is done on their strength building through Macro and Micronutrients. Electrolytes, Broths, Scientifically and Clinically balanced diets are a part and parcel of the process. And the results are there for everyone to see. Countries that top the charts in the field of sports are the ones that have laid paramount importance on the well being of their sportspersons and have set up a well-defined structure to help, nourish and guide them to the top.

While Globally athletes keep on winning medals in leaps and bounds, Indian athletes are often seen having to struggle for a basic two times meal. Recently, Dietitian Shreya met up with Simran Sharma, Para Athlete to congratulate her on making the nation proud. The respect that She had for Simran and the disappointment with the system was increased profoundly when the topic veered to issues like lack of nutrition for athletes who represent the country in disciplines other than the overhyped ones.  Dietitian Shreya took up the responsibility for her nutrition and other dietary needs under her own NGO, Aaharika, which since the day of its creation has been looking after the nutritional needs of the needy. But the there are many other sportsmen/women who have a lot of zeal and promise in them but are facing this lack of nutrition and healthy dieting and that is a big stumbling block for them in their path of winning Medals for India and making us proud.  Dietitian Shreya and Aaharika will be looking ahead to adopting more promising sportspersons for their nutritional needs in the near future too!  A recent study authorized by the National Institute of Nutrition (Indian Council of Medical Research, Hyderabad) had some really interesting and shocking finds. Many sports schools in a particular state had no dedicated Dietitians or Sports Nutritionists. Coaches were the ones who were formulating diets and deciding how much and what was to be given to the budding athletes. No clinical formulation of diets, no scientific balancing of nutrition. Nothing. Just diets being given on the basis of Random experience and self-gained knowledge and also out of the little knowledge gained while studying a subject on sports nutrition while doing their courses at National Institute Of Sports, Patiala.  Just like the rest of the developed world, our athletes too deserve the best of  nutrition, well calculated diets according to the sports they play, and also in depth body mapping( like in the gold winning nations) to help their dietitians to understand the individual need of each muscle and the structural parts that they so need to excel in their respective sports disciplines. As Dietitian Shreya rightly pointed out, a vast majority of us pay the taxes imposed on our hard-earned income to the government. If a propionate amount of the paid taxes in utilized on the nutrition of our really deserving and hard-working athletes, the money deposited would be a lot more justified. We are a country of more than 135 crore people, and the talent in excelling in sports in us is tremendous. There are people like Srinivas Gowda (the one who was said to run faster than Usain Bolt) waiting in the wings, ready to fly and make us proud.

Nutrition of every child is important. We never know the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps could be lurking just around the next street. If you are an athlete, or are aspiring to be one, please do contact us, at Dietitian Shreya’s Family Diet Clinicfor your own personalized diet plan. You take care of the hard work; we look after the nutrition!

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