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Topics in Food, Nutrition, and Health:
Sport Nutrition
FNH 490
Section: 003
Instructor: Dr. Susan Barr
Office: FNH 244
Office Hours: Thurs 4:00-5:30PM
Class Schedule: Thurs 1:00-4:00PM
Classroom: FNH 50
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Description

This course will address the nutrition requirements of athletes, including topics such as carbohydrate and protein needs, maintaining hydration, pre- and post-event nutrition, weight management and body composition issues of athletes, ergonomic aids, sports-specific guidelines, and special athlete populations.

Prerequisites: FNH 350 (and preferably FNH 351). Note that FNH 350 must have been completed prior to enrolment in FHH 490 section 003.

Learning Objectives

Overall learning objectives of the course as a whole are listed below. More specific learning objectives for each module of the course, and the course assignments, will also be provided in class. Students will be able to:

  • Define and describe the relationships among physical activity, physical fitness, exercise, and sports, and be able to differentiate recommendations appropriate for general health of the population versus individuals participating in high-level exercise and sport;
  • Describe and differentiate the three major energy systems for physical activity/exercise;
  • Describe the effects of different types and amounts of physical activity on requirements for energy and nutrients;
  • Recommend appropriate patterns of dietary intake (foods/nutrients and fluids) for training, and for intake before, during, and after different types of physical activity or competitive events;
  • Evaluate the potential effectiveness of ergogenic aids, and the basis by which they may affect performance;
  • Describe methods for assessing body weight and composition in athletes, and strategies for body weight/composition management or modification;
  • Develop insight into variables that may affect the nutritional needs of athlete groups (e.g., age, dietary patterns, health conditions, etc.).

Course Format

The course is held on THURSDAYS in FHN 50, from 1:00 - 4:00 PM. The course will include lectures, discussions, guest speakers, student presentations, and reading and evaluating specific research studies. Clickers will be used (be sure your iClicker is registered).

Texts and Website


Other required reading material (or enduring links) will be posted on the Connect course website. The following websites (posted on the course website under "Links and Resources") may be relevant:


  • Participation: 8%. Class participation will be assessed using responses to Clicker questions. The majority of points will be assigned for simply responding the the questions (1 point per question). In addition, beginning with the second class, there will be several 'scored' questions based on material from the previous class. Correct responses to these questions will receive an additional point (i.e., 2 points for a correct response versus 1 point if the response is incorrect). Your score for this component of the grade will be based on the number of points you receive, compared to the total possible (e.g., someone who responded to 55 out of 60 possible questions, and who chose the correct response on 15 of 20 scored questions would receive 70 points out of 80, or 7% of the possible 8% for this component of the course grade).
  • Online quizzes: 12%. Three online quizzes will be held on January 18, February 8, and March 8. Further information on the topics and format will be posted on UBC Connect, but they will emphasize application of the course material. Each will contribute up to 4% towards your course grade. Failure to complete a quiz on the day it is available on UBC Connect will result in a score of 0 for that quiz.
  • Midterm exam: 25%. The midterm (February 14) will include a combination of multiple choice and short-answer questions.
  • Final exam: 35%. The final exam will be cumulative, but it will have a greater emphasis on post-midterm material.
  • Group presentation: 15%. More information is provided below on the group presentation assignment.
  • Article discussions: 5%. Several times throughout the course, a research article will be assigned (and a link posted on UBC Connect). Students will be required to read the article and complete a worksheet that must be printed out and brought to class. Worksheets that are completed with evidence of thoughtful preparation will receive full marks. During class, students will discuss the article in small groups, and this will be followed by a discussion among the class as a whole.

Tentative Course Schedule

Note that this is VERY preliminary and will undoubtedly change. The dates posted are from 2013.

Date Topic Text Reading
January 3 Course overview; Exercise physiology intro I Chapter 1
January 10 Exercise physiology intro II; article discussion Chapter 1; article
January 17 Carbohydrate; sports nutrition products

Ergogenic aids topics due in class

Chapter 2
(January 18) Online Quiz #1 (carbohydrate & sport nutrition products)
January 24 Fat; selected vitamins and minerals Chapter 4 and 5
January 31 Protein; article discussion Chapter 3
February 7 Fluid and electrolytes Chapter 6
(February 8) Online quiz #2 (protein, fluid & electrolytes)
February 14 Midterm Exam; Nutrition assessment Chapter 8
February 28 Weight management; counselling athletes Chapters 9, 11, 15
March 7 Selected ergogenic aids (Creatine; nitric acid/beet juice); article discussion Chapter 7
(March 8) Online quiz #3 (weight management, selected ergogenic aids)
March 14 Special athlete populations Chapter 16
March 21 Group presentations; Intermittent and high-intensity sports Chapter 20, 21
March 28 Group presentations; Endurance and ultra-endurance sport Chapter 22
April 4 Group presentations and Wrap up

Group Presentation Assignment

You will be assigned to a group of 5 students, who will work together on this assignment. This will also be your group for the small group discussions of research articles. The objective of the assignment is to critically assess a current ergogenic aid and present your findings to your classmates.

Step 1: Meet with your group members and identify your top 3 choices (first, second, and third choices) from the list below for an ergogenic aid that you would like to investigate for your assignment. Alternatively, if there is another ergogenic aid you would like to work on that will not be covered in class, you may identify that as one of your choices. The list should be handed in on JANUARY 17 in class (include your group number and the names of those in your group). To avoid duplication, the instructor will assign one of your three topic choices to your group (if more than one group identifies a particular ergogenic aid as the first choice, the group who is assigned to it will be determined randomly).

Possible ergogenic aids:

Arginine Carnitine High-dose antioxidants (Vit C, E)
Beta-alanine Choline HMB (β-hydroxy-β-methyl-butyrate)
Branched-chain amino acids Ginseng Quercitin
Bicarbonate Glutamine
Caffeine Glycerol

Step 2: Group assignments and presentation dates will be posted on UBC Connect the week of JANUARY 21, and will also be announced in class. Presentation dates will be randomly selected by drawing group names.

Step 3: As a group, you will prepare an evidence-based 20-minute PowerPoint presentation on your topic that will be presented in class. Each student in the group must present some part of the class presentation. Note that these are intended to be scientific presentations to an audience with a strong nutrition background, and both the content and style of your presentation should reflect this. Please see the Grading Rubric for additional information on the evaluation criteria and what should be included in your presentation.

Step 4: A copy of your slide presentation and a Word document listing relevant references must be submitted to the instructor by e-mail by midnight on the day before your group's presentation. These will be posted on UBC Connect.

Resources: Some good resources for developing your presentation include: