British Journal of Medicine published article in April 2014 describing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) consensus statement on Relative Energy Deficit in sports. This referred as REDs is replacing the female athlete triad. Scientific evidence and clinical experience has brought to light this complex syndrome based on the inadequate energy or calories to support all the body functions. When the fuel is not adequate the body will try to preserve calories and redirect energy to essential body functions. Literally every organ system will be impacted and optimal health and athletic performance can be compromised.

Middle and high school athletes are especially at risk because of the added nutritional needs for growth and development. Performance effects include: decrease muscle strength, irritability, decreased concentration, impaired judgement and coordination. Athletes must understand that getting enough nutrition may decrease their risk for an Injury or stress fractures. Long term low energy availability (EA) may develop into nutritional deficiencies like anemia and increase the risk of infection.

Another consequence of REDs is depression. Psychological consequences can either precede or be the result of REDs. The complete article can be reviewed here.

Please schedule your sports nutrition check up today. Melanie Jacob, RD CSSD is a certified specialist and sports dietetics can provide individualized nutrition plans for your sport.