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Fred Brouns. John Wiley and Sons, 2002, £24.95, pp 227, softcover. ISBN 0471497657
The author summarises the aim of this book in his preface as “to give a scientific but easily understandable overview of aspects related to nutrition and physical activity”, and it does just that.
Having published numerous scientific studies himself, this well respected author, Brouns, is certainly qualified to write such a text. This, together with the panel of internationally recognised experts acknowledged as having critically reviewed the manuscript, ensures that this book is a highly credible source of sports nutrition information.
As expected in a sports nutrition book, this book logically summarises the macro and micro nutrients, with chapters dedicated to each of carbohydrate, fat, protein, fluid, minerals, trace elements, vitamins, and antioxidants. Each chapter provides a detailed overview of the research relating to the topic. The key points at the conclusion of each chapter provide a simple summary without the detail and research for those just wanting the bottom line.
With almost 500 scientific references provided to support the facts, it really is a scientific reference book. It is therefore easy to understand why this book is used as an educational text in graduate courses of sports science, physical education, and sports medicine, in several countries.
Although this book is certainly not targeted towards the sports person or athlete wanting to learn how to meet their nutritional requirements, some practical information could have easily been incorporated. In my opinion this is the only “essential” ingredient lacking. There is a chapter dedicated to “From theory to practice”; however, this is more of a summary of the scientific facts. There are some guidelines relating to “what to do”—that is, nutritional requirements. However the “how to” component is lacking. Additional tips and strategies for applying the facts would complement this book and perhaps extend its use.
Overall, Essentials of sports nutrition is a very useful addition to any sports nutrition library.