Tag Archives: food


Delivering nutritional consultancy to International footballers and Olympic medallists is not something everyone has the luxury of adding to their résumé.

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Dr. Mayur Ranchordas, 35, from Sheffield has worked with the likes of 10m diver Tom Daley, as well as England internationals Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill, during his nearly decade long career in the field.

How important is nutrition in sport?

 “My opinion has actually changed over the years, I think it depends. That’s one of the things I’ve learned. They all say at university that “yeah it’s important”, but from my experience of working in the field I actually think it depends on the sport.”

If you take an immensely testing sport like competing in the Tour de France, nutrition is extremely important. The mass endurance involved requires meticulous nutrition planning and high energy consumption. If you do not eat enough or properly, then you’re not going to finish the race and you aren’t going to recover for the next day.

However, in other sports nutrition is not as important and Mayur suggests that you can actually get away with a poor diet and the nutrition is not as important. “Shot put or javelin, it’s not as important because it’s more about raw power and genetics.”

Sport nutrition really comes down to the sport; look at the demand of the sport and what’s the most important demand.


“I think that supplements are overused, I think supplements are overpriced, I think it’s a massive money making business and that 90% of supplements don’t work.”

Supplement brands make millions every year, well-marketed with their “promised results”. There is an abundance of supplements out their promising different things, muscle gain, strength gain, recovery and increased performances in training.

Zef Eisenberg, the founder of one of the leading supplement brands, Maximuscle, sold the company for £162m, in 2010 – the largest-ever investment in the sports nutrition sector, proving that it’s a lucrative market.

However, over the years Mayur’s opinion has changed concerning supplements, suggesting most supplements are in fact a waste of money.  He considers that the only supplements that potentially may be effective are vitamin D, creatine, caffeine and possibly whey protein.

“Scientifically there is very poor evidence, so the first thing I suggest is that you get your training right and get your nutrition right.”

Dietary Guidelines

 “You’ve got to devise your nutrition strategy based around an individual athlete”

A footballer will arrive at the training ground at around 8.30am and start training at 10am. As they rarely train twice a day you have to devise a nutrition strategy based around that. Whereas, a distance is very different because they do train twice a day, therefore the guidelines will depend entirely on the training program and the lifestyle of the athlete. My philosophy is always you need a bespoke approach”


As some athletes will train up to 6 hours a day, those will be looking to consume approximately 4000-5000 calories per day.  Conversely, some athletes will only train one hour a day so it might be more like 2000-2500 calories. The calorific intake depends on the goals of the athlete, considering whether the athlete is looking to increase muscle mass or are trying to lose fat, or just maintain weight.  The advice will differ depending on the varied goals.

Making the calorie target isn’t everything though you have to look at what you’re eating; Mayur says “quality is always important, so I would advise sticking to whole food and natural quality rather than the cheaper refined products.”

Gaining Muscle  

“You have to have the stimulus, which is you have to be going to the gym three or four times a week at least. Then from a nutrition perspective, make sure you get enough protein.”

Ensuring you get enough protein is simple maths. Take your body weight in KG and multiply by 1.7 and that’s the amount you need to consume in grams.

I.e. Take a person weighing 75kg.

75 x 1.7= 127.5

So therefore the person will need to consume 127-128 gram of protein per day.

To reach this target, the athlete will have to make sure they distribute the protein throughout the day in 20-25 gram servings, every two-three hours, or so.

“Just eat enough, so you eat about 500 calories more than what you need, if you’re looking to gain weight.”

Losing Fat

If you’re looking to lose weight then you need to do the opposite. You need to make sure your energy expenditure is higher than your energy intake and that you burn around 500 calories less than what you need.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a more effective method for fat loss than slow steady training for fat loss because you’re burning more calories and your metabolism stays higher afterwards – therefore your body is still burning fat several hours after exercise.

“The key thing for weight loss is that I suggest you cut down the carbohydrate intake and increase your protein intake and keep your fat moderate, just make sure you’re on a negative energy balance.”

Mayur Facts

  • Sport and Exercise Science undergraduate and Master’s degree at Sheffield Hallam
  • PhD in Sport Nutrition
  • Sheffield Wednesday FC internship and has worked with Sheffield United FC
  • Worked at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield
  • Premier League football  experience with Bolton Wanderers
  • Supported athletes at Beijing Olympics 2008
  • Professional doctorate part-time in Sports Nutrition alongside teaching at Sheffield Hallam – where he still works
  • Consults in professional cycling and football
  • Keen triathlete
  • Favourite food: Milk
  • Favourite supplement: Caffeine 


Twitter: @Diet4Sport
Mayur also blogs for  FourFourTwo



Loose names such as Acai and Goji berries are thrown labelled under “superfoods” and “must-haves for a healthy diet”, but how many people actually know what these are? We get given these fancy, uncommon foods that are apparently going to change our worlds – warning: that may be an exaggeration. However, here is Style Council’s list of ‘Superfoods’ that you will have definitely heard of…



Rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin E, protein and many other useful nutrients – almonds are our pick of the nuts. Reducing risk of heart attacks, nourishing the nervous system, cancer preventing qualities and help provide good brain functioning – these little bundles of nutrition are truly a wonderful and inexpensive superfood. Try adding a handful of these tasty nuts with breakfast and snacks, to help kick start a healthier you.



Most fruits are mainly consisting of carbohydrate, whereas the unique avocado is high in healthy fats. They contain more potassium than a banana, an understated nutrient which main roles include; maintaining fluid balance and keep your brain, nerves, heart and muscles running efficiently. Proven that they can lower cholesterol, high in fibre and loaded with eye-protecting anti-oxidants – this super fruit should be part of a daily diet.



If you’re eating eggs for breakfast already, you can be sure that you’re starting your day with a superfood. They’re high in protein and vitamins, as well as the lesser known nutrient, choline. If you haven’t heard of choline, you’re not alone – nonetheless it is an incredibly important nutrient. It is used to build cell membranes and helps produce signalling molecules in the brain.



 Greens play an important role in a healthy diet and this tasty cruciferous vegetable is no exception. High in fibre, Broccoli is a good carb which aids with the digestive system and prevents constipation. Not only does it promote a healthy heart, reduces cholesterol and a concentrated source of Vitamin C, a cup of broccoli contains as much protein as the same amount of rice with half as many calories.

Greek yoghurt


A first-rate source of calcium, proteins and probiotics, yogurt is a fantastic dairy product. Calcium is an important nutrient which is great for the bones. It is also laden with iodine, which is important for an efficient thyroid which in turn maintains a healthy metabolism. The promotion of an increased metabolism helps with weight loss and keeps your waist in check.


It’s the period before student loans come in and we’re all stressed with deadlines and struggling to make pennies last. This tuna-pasta meal is a great way to pack in the nutrition, cheaply that is ready to serve in under 15 minutes. 

First thing’s first, this will not win you any gourmet chef awards, nor will it be the most extravagant and flavour-filled thing you’ve ever tasted. However, if you’re penny-pinching and still hoping to gain/maintain muscle then this pasta dish will help you along the way.

Ingredients (serves 3-4 meals):

  • 2 cans of Tuna Chunks
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 1 onion clove (finely chopped)
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of lentils
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 2 cups of dried pasta
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin oil (optional)
  • 1tbsp Red Wine Vinegar (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Set the pasta to boil, this usually takes around 7-12 minutes depending on the pasta you’re using.

In another pan, begin sauteing the garlic and onions for a couple of minutes in heated sunflower oil. When the onion begins to clear, add in the canned tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer.

Add in the lentils and kidney beans and leave to simmer for several minutes, stirring gently. Stir in the tuna, virgin oil, red wine vinegar and add the chili powder.

Leave to simmer for approximately five minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta while retaining some of the water. Stir the pasta in with the sauce, then add 100ml of the pasta water and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes, before serving.

Nutrition breakdown 

Tuna is an extremely cheap way to get in your protein intake, usually around 25g of protein a serving and can be picked up at most supermarkets at around 75p per can. It also provides a modest source of omega-3 fatty acids, these are essential fats that your body uses maintain healthy skin, hair, cardiovascular system and brain.

Pasta is of course a great source of carbohydrates and aids in muscle recovery and slow, lasting release of energy.

Onions have many benefits; enhancing your immune system, therefore making you less likely to succumb to illness, can reduce inflammation and heal infections and assists in regulating blood sugar, to name a few.

Garlic is mainly associated with provide a distinct taste to food, however you may be surprised it has its own health benefits.Garlic can help combat the common cold, reduce blood pressure and may lower the risk of heart disease.

Lentils and beans are both high in protein and low in calories, totting up your protein intake – crucial in muscle repair and growth – and both are cheap ingredients. Kidney beans are high in fiber which helps regulate your digestive system and prevents constipation.