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Wednesday, 20 May, 1998, 00:55 GMT 01:55 UK
The Arsenal diet
Arsenal players celebrate a goal
Good diet helped Arsenal to spectacular success this season
The Arsenal Team Diet:

A typical match day meal at Highbury will be eaten three hours before kick off:

First Course:

  • Crudites of raw carrot and celery
Main Course:
  • Boiled fish or chicken, mashed potato, boiled vegetables
Pudding:
  • Apple pie - strictly nothing with it.

This meal may not sound too appetising, but according to John Brewer, head of sports science at the Lilleshall National Sports Injury and Human Performance Centre, it is perfect fare for a high powered footballer.

"Carbohydrate is provided by the mashed potato which is rich in starch," he said. "It is the fuel that a footballer needs when he is training and playing.

"The meal is also low in fat and protein so there is more capacity for the player to take up the carbohydrate he needs. If a player was to eat an average British portion of fat and protein they would not have enough spare capacity to take on the carbohydrate they need.

"Fat does provide energy when it is broken down, but only at a slow rate which is no good during a high intensity football match.

"It was traditionally thought because muscle was made of protein that people needed to eat a lot of protein to provide fuel for the muscles and to make them grow bigger. Now we know that this is a fallacy. Protein is still important, but we do not need a large amount and most people in the UK eat far more than is necessary. The protein in this meal is provided by the white meat, which is easy to digest.

"The green vegetables contain plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals to keep the body healthy, especially when they are fresh and the nutrients have not been lost by being overcooked.

"We could all benefit from redistributing the size of the portions on our plate. Normally there is a large amount of meat, covering three quarters of the plate, and the rest is made up of about an eighth vegetable and an eighth potato.

"A much better proportion would be no more than a quarter of the plate made up of meat, with the rest made up of plenty of vegetables."