- 7 February 2022
- Posted by: Betty Rombout
- Category: IFFI's column in Evmi
´Nutrition plays a key role in optimal performance, especially for athlethes competing at the Olympic level’, says Jeroen Wouters. Graduated from Wageningen University in Food Science and Technology, he now is Program Manager of Sports & Nutrition at Sportcentrum Papendal. During the IFFI event ´Personalized Nutrition´ on February 16th at Papendal, he is one of the keynote speakers
Sports centre Papendal is – internationally acknowledged – a leader in the field of sports nutrition, working closely with research institutes and top athletes. Developing innovative food concepts to boost performance but also to recover once the athlete has participated in a training or competition. These insights and understandings of personalized nutrition are a rich source of knowledge to be applied to consumers.
Jeroen Wouters: ´Food is often target group-oriented: for example patients, the elderly and athletes. With Personalized Nutrition we go one step further; nutrition aimed at the specific person. In other words, we individually monitor what food does to people. Which food suits which person?´.
In that respect Papendal facilitates and participates in the program Eat2Move (practice, science and business are involved) to apply knowledge on sports’ nutrition to, for instance, senior and medical nutrition. In Papendal’s top-level sports restaurant, new food concepts are developed and tested among the athletes. They deliver new products like sport bars, bread or quark. The participants will be introduced to new innovative food concepts, from the perspective of an athlete.
An example: protein is important for building muscle mass. Athletes always combine sports training with extra protein intake. In a hospital or care setting extra protein intake prior or after, for example, knee surgery is also an option, to support a patient’s recovery.
500 athletes train daily at Papendal. They can always go to the restaurant for an extra snack, for example. They have a personal card to pay for their food of choice. Via a specifically developed app, for example, the nutritional values of the selected products are calculated. In this way athletes learn about their nutritional intake during the day. Together with a sports dietician the dietary intake can be finetuned if necessary. It is about creating understanding for the athletes.
Not only Papendal is developing in Personalized Nutrition approaches, health centers, like Hospital De Gelderse Vallei, are closely following these types of developments for their patients.
Wouters: ¨During the event on February 16, we want to show the importance of building knowledge about ingredients. There are ample opportunities and possibilities in this field. People want to know more and more about their health, think of the smartwatches that are often used and provide individual information. We can also link nutritional parameters to this. It is a challenge for the industry to look for concepts. They can still take steps. There is still a world to be win!.¨
Please note, Jeroen Wouters concludes: ¨Nutrition is not just technical. It is crucial to be tasty, tasteful, have healthy options and be eaten in an attractive environment. Eating only astronaut food, nobody can sustain that”.