Asian cuisine has ‘a huge appeal’ among the US sports teams, according to a study.
In the first survey to measure a broad range of food preferences in the US, the researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University the Philippines found that athletes in the men’s and women’s 100 meters and 100 yards events were more likely to eat Asian-style food and less likely to have a diet that included red meat, dairy products and grains.
The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Sports Medicine, also found that women and younger athletes were more inclined to eat vegetarian foods.
“There is an increasing body of evidence that people who eat vegetarian or vegan diets are more likely not to have diabetes or other chronic diseases,” said Dr. Peter Buehler, the study’s lead author and a professor in the department of nutrition at UNC-Chapel Hill.
“So we wondered, ‘What do we know about eating vegetarian or veg-free diets?'”
Dr. Buehl said the study was an attempt to provide some of the first concrete evidence about how people in the United States eat.
“This study was a really important first step in this direction, but there are a lot more questions than answers,” he said.
The researchers, led by Dr. David Lebovitz, a professor of health science and nutrition at the University The Philippines, asked about 10,000 participants about their eating habits and diet habits, as well as how much they used health-consciousness tips.
Participants were asked about their weight, height, body mass index, height-for-age, and race-for their age.
The research team analyzed data from more than 11,000 subjects.
It found that men were more than twice as likely as women to eat vegan, and older women more than three times as likely to consume vegetarian or vegetarian-free diet.
Men also were more often than women to say they ate a lot of fruits, vegetables and dairy products, and to have more healthy-eating habits.
Dr. Lebavitz said the data suggests that athletes may be more sensitive to a food’s nutritional content.
“In other words, they can eat a lot less and still be healthier than most of us,” he told CNN.
“They eat less protein and they don’t eat a whole lot of carbohydrates, so they may be less likely [to have a high blood pressure] or to have Type 2 diabetes.”
Dr. Peter said he hoped the study could help change perceptions about how the diet of the US athletes might differ from those of other nations.
“It’s really good to see these data from the American athletes that have really been doing it for decades and years and decades and decades, and the food preferences are really just a result of the lifestyle they choose to live in,” he added.