Posted by: Tessa | 2004/02/21

Weight no energy

Hi Doc
My daughter is 13 years old, weighs 36kg - she is quite thin- hardly any fat or muscle on her. She is a very poor eater. Pasta is her favourite food. Hates potatoes.... She trains approx. 12-14 hours per week (swimming). For the last three weeks she complains that she is tired, and has no energy. We were advised that she should take a Protein shake before and after training. I have read the article on carbo loading. Should we be increasing her vitamin intake too? She just started high school - a whole new setup with lots & lots of homework. She gets approx 8 hours of sleep per night. Please help...................................

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Tessa
I think your lassie needs to use a carbo-loading drink before, during and immediately after each training session to provide her with sufficient energy for the exercise (Powerade, Lucozade, Energade, etc - let her experiment which brand agrees best with her). You also need to make sure that she is eating protein in the form of lean meat, fish, eggs, milk, yoghurt and cheese (add mince and cheese to those pastas), because she also needs the other nutrients contained in these foods (B vitamins, iron, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids (in fish)). I would suggest that she should take a complete vitamin and mineral supplement which is rich in iron such as Supradyn Forte to prevent anaemia. If she is still tired after a month of this regimen, then please take her for a medical checkup as she may be seriously anaemic and require a concentrated iron-folic acid supplement. It is also always important to determine if young people are not suffering from depression, anxiety or an eating disorder. Talk to her about these things if possible, because she seems to have an awful lot on her plate at the moment - high school, the swimming, etc.
Best regards

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