Nutrition education visual tools are designed to help the general population translate science into practice. The purpose of this study was to validate the Athlete's Plate (AP) to ensure that it meets the current sport nutrition recommendations for athletes. Twelve registered dietitians (RDs; 10 female and 2 male) volunteered for the study. Each registered dietitian was asked to create three real and virtual plates at three different times corresponding to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the three different AP training loads, easy (E), moderate (M), and hard (H), divided into two weight categories (male 75 kg and female 60 kg). Data of the real and virtual plates were evaluated using Computrition software (v. 18.1; Computrition, Chatsworth, CA). Statistical analyses were conducted by SPSS (version 23.0; IBM, Armonk, NY) to compare the difference between each training load category (E, M, and H) and the recommendations. No statistically significant differences were found among the created plates and the recommendations for energy, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber for E, M, and H. Protein relative to body mass (BM) was higher than recommended for E (1.9 ± 0.3 g·kg-1 BM·day-1, p = .003), M (2.3 ± 0.3 g·kg-1 BM·day-1, p < .001), and H (2.9+0.5 g·kg-1 BM·day-1, p < .001). No differences were found for the macronutrient distribution by gender when correcting for kilograms of body mass. The authors conclude that the AP meets the nutrition recommendations for athletes at different training intensities for energy, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber, but exceeds the recommendations for protein. Further research should consider this protein discrepancy and develop an AP model that meets, besides health and performance goals, contemporary guidelines for sustainability.
Keywords: education; nutrition/training periodization; protein; sport nutrition.