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The Discussion and Analysis of Carbohydrates in the Context of Athletes and Athletic Nutrition

By Justin Bakhshai, Emily Herren, Mark Hucks, Marisa Long, and Jaclyn Lyman

Nomiated by Lesley Brown, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

From the Author: In the context of science and nutrition, it is often desirable and, arguably, necessary to engage individuals in a discussion of health in a descriptive and objective manner. This paper allows for this discussion by presenting these facts within a biochemical framework. While there are a variety of scientific and technical terms present throughout, this article is more of an attempt to describe nutrition in a way that facilitates an increased general understanding of topics as important as athleticnutrition, with a specific emphasis on carbohydrates and their effect on said athletes.

From the Faculty Nominator: Now more than ever, our world is being deeply influenced by constant breakthroughs in science and technology. Rapid rates of scientific discovery have allowed us to unlock the secrets of the human genome and develop new ways to treat disease. We have more insight into the causes of global warming and we understand a bit more about distant galaxies thanks to images from the Hubble telescope. Citizens of the world are being asked to make complex personal, economic and political decisions that are, in many cases, based upon scientific and technological issues. Yet, many of them do not have a level a scientific literacy that allows them to make the most informed decisions. While approaches to solving this problem are varied, one thing that can be done is to make sure that the current generation of scientists is able to provide clear and accurate scientific information to a lay audience.

Justin Bakhshai, Emily Herren, Mark Hucks, Marisa Long, and Jaclyn Lyman were asked to complete this assignment for an upper level biochemistry course. Their task was to write an article on a topic in nutrition of their choosing and to connect it to the biochemical concepts they learned during the semester. The target audience for the article was to be classmates who were non-science majors. While it is easier to explain a difficult concept to a colleague who speaks and understands the specialized jargon of a given scientific field, it requires a great deal more thought, effort and skill to explain these same concepts so that they are clear to the non-scientist. The result of their efforts is a wonderfully accessible article about the role of dietary carbohydrates for the athlete.

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