Nutrition and Clean Sport


Understanding nutrition is vital to anyone taking part in sport and physical activity. It is important to fuel your body correctly to support healthy participation and ensure effective recovery.

Sports performance and energy

Fuelling your body with the right foods is essential for sports performance, importantly fats, protein and carbohydrates which maintain the body's energy.

  • Carbohydrates are the primary fuel used by working muscles, so adequate intake is essential for preventing muscle fatigue.
  • While it's important to monitor your fat intake, you shouldn't remove it from your diet completely. Fats provide fatty acids that can be used as a source of energy - especially if your exercise sessions last longer than one hour. Fats also provide the building blocks for hormones and the formation of cell walls.
  • Protein can be used as a source of energy and is critical for building new muscle tissue. If you're taking part in resistance training, your body will require additional protein.


The following guidance and resources are designed to support a healthier lifestyle:

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders change someone’s attitude towards food and their body in a way that influences their behaviour and eating habits. For example, an eating disorder can cause you to spend a lot of time thinking about your weight and body shape, and do things like avoid eating as much as possible, or exercise more than is healthy. These changes in eating habits and behaviour can affect you physically, mentally, and socially.

There are a number of different types of eating disorder. The most common ones are:

  • anorexia nervosa, where a person tries to keep their weight as low as possible by strictly controlling and limiting what they eat
  • bulimia, where a person overeats and then tries to avoid gaining weight by ‘purging’ – for example, by vomiting or taking laxatives
  • binge eating, where a person feels they have to overeat through regular binges


If you or someone you know is suffering from, or showing symptoms of, an eating disorder please contact your GP for further support and guidance.

Further Resources


Relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) is the result of insufficient caloric intake and/or excessive energy expenditure. Consequences of this low-energy condition can alter many physiological systems, including metabolism, menstrual function, bone health, immunity, protein synthesis, and cardiovascular and psychological health.

The RED-S concept has been adapted from a previously identified syndrome, the female athlete triad, which affects active women with low-energy availability, menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density. RED-S is a comprehensive model depicting a low-energy status in physically active women or men.

Source: BJSM

Learn more about RED-S.

Clean Sport

Anyone participating in sport and physical activity at the University of Edinburgh should make themselves aware of Clean Sport guidance and principles. UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) implements and manages anti-doping policy in the UK. It works with athletes and national sports bodies to ensure compliance with the World Anti-Doping (WADA) Code. The Anti-Doping Rules are applicable to anyone participating in sport – as athletes, coaches or support staff – and outline how we can all play our part in protecting sport.

Supplements are much more common now at all levels of sport, but before taking supplements athletes must be aware of the need, risk and consequences of not properly investigating what they are consuming.

Although medication can be prescribed by a doctor, they may contain prohibited substances. It is an athlete’s responsibility to check the ingredients of any medication. You can check eligibility of medications on Global DRO.

For further information on Clean Sport guidance please contact Katrina Bass, Performance Sport Coordinator -

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