Jockeys’ diet analysed by experts

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  • Could this herald the end of jelly babies, sugary tea and the sauna for jockeys?

    Researchers from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) have designed a scientific diet plan to stop the “dangerous techniques” employed by many to make the weight.

    “Jockeys are in a constant state of energy deficit,” Dr Graeme Close told H&H. “We want to dispel the archaic techniques that are passed down through the weighing room — such as constant sweating, using laxatives and the misconception that exercise makes you heavier.

    “Starvation is common — not eating all day, or surviving on sweet tea, then binge eating takeaways,” he added.

    “We want to teach them that food like omelettes can have a similar number of calories, but be a lot better for you. We can help the next generation by improving the health of the sport from within.”

    Since the project started four years ago, 50 jockeys have been tested at LJMU — looking at their bone health, their mood and their organ functions.

    Research found many had low bone quality and an inverted mood profile — with high levels of tension and anger and low energy levels.

    And now, a new funding partnership with the Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival means a lab in Abu Dhabi is to be set up, so the problem can be examined on a global scale.

    The research is supported by top jockeys, including AP McCoy and Frankie Dettori.

    “It is great to see that jockeys will now have access to the same sports science expertise that all other sports currently benefit from,” said Frankie.

    Fellow jockey Franny Norton added: “This can only be of great benefit to the health, fitness and well-being of jockeys worldwide. I was having my best season this year [before injury] and it was down to having not to sweat or miss food thanks to the LJMU team.”

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