The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reportedly asked Cricket Australia (CA) to remove beef from the players’ menu for their two-month-long tour of Australia. We find out if this is really a wise move.
Explaining the nutritional value of beef, nutritionist Kinita Kadakia Patel, who has worked with the Mumbai Indians (IPL team) and the National Cricket Academy, says, “Beef is very high on creatine, which is a quick energy-giving substrate. However, the benefits don’t outweigh individual food choices. I wouldn’t ask a vegetarian to turn into a non-vegetarian to improve his/her game.”
She adds, “My experience suggests that cricket players have different nutritional requirements. Many face challenges while gaining muscle mass, and fast bowlers, in particular, are leaner and have an ectomorph body type. Players’ diets are focussed on making complex and simple carbohydrates available to them throughout the day, with substantial protein availability for recovery. Contradictorily, many players have a higher skin fold, which they need to work on. So it becomes important for them to cycle their macronutrients during match days, rest days and training days to reduce body fat.”
Kinita also believes that vegetarianism and veganism are more philosophical choices than dietary ones. “Veganism represents a fundamental outlook towards animal cruelty. Vegans give up any food or item that comes from animals including milk and dairy products, honey and leather,” she says.
Kinita educates players about their nutritional needs right from the age of 14. She guides them from their days of playing at school tournaments to when they become professional athletes, through injuries, recovery periods and all, constantly tracking their nutritional progression. Her work has widely been recognised by Sunil Gavaskar as well as a few other international players....