Food exchange lists have been widely used in dietary practice in health and disease situations, but there are still no exchange lists for sports foods. The aim of this study was to apply a previous published methodology to design food exchange lists to the development of a sports food exchange list, with sport products available in Spain. A cross-sectional study of the nutritional composition of sports foods, regarding macronutrients and energy, was carried out. A total of 322 sports foods from 18 companies were selected, taking into account their interest in sports practice and with nutritional data provided by companies. Sports foods were divided into seven groups: sports drinks; sports gels; sports bars; sports confectionery; protein powders; protein bars; and liquid meals. A sports food composition database based on portion size usually consumed by athletes and/or recommended in commercial packaging was created. Within each sports foods group, different subgroups were defined due to differences in the main and/or secondary macronutrient. The definition of each exchange list with the amounts—in grams—of each sports food within each group and subgroup, was done using statistical criteria such as mean, standard deviation, coefficient of variation, and Z value. Final exchange values for energy and macronutrient have been established for each group and subgroup using a methodology to design food exchange lists previously published by the authors. In addition, those products with high Z values that can provide greater variability in dietary planning were included. The usefulness of sport foods lists as well as the use of an exchange system in the dietary practice of sports nutrition is discussed, and examples of how to use them with athletes are presented. This first sport foods exchange list showed in this study, with commercial sports products available in Spain, can be a novel tool for dietetic practice and also can allow sport nutrition professionals to develop another sport food list using the methodology described in this paper. Its management would allow dietitians to adapt dietary plans more precisely to the training and/or competition of the athlete.
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