Food choices in physically active individuals with regard to sustainability
(1) Background: Food choices among consumers can have an impact on the total climate carbon footprint from food consumption. To decrease those emissions, a change in dietary habits is necessary. The recommendation for a shift towards a more sustainable diet is decreasing the amount of animal-based foods and increasing plant-based foods. There are different motives for food choices, and sustainability can be one of them. Physically active individuals are in need for high intakes of protein in order to maintain their performance. Little is known about influences on their food choices. The aim of this study was to investigate the motives for food choices in individuals active in different sports with regard to sustainability and consumed protein sources. (2) Methods: A survey of a sample of 367 individuals was conducted in German and Swedish gyms, climbing halls and CrossFit boxes. Therefore, a questionnaire was developed to get information about factors influencing food choice and consumed protein sources. Kruskal-Wallis-test tested significant differences between sport groups and physical activity levels. (3) Results: Taste and health were the main influences on food choices. The most frequent consumed animal-based protein were milk-products, the most frequent used plant-based source were grains. Sustainability was ranked as moderately important, with the highest importance in people active in running and climbing. Participants with high physical activity levels and active in CrossFit ranked performance more important than the rest of the sample and consumed protein supplements, eggs and poultry more frequently. (4) Conclusion: Differences in food choices between sport groups and physical activity levels were identified. Further studies are needed to identify motives for food choices and consumed protein sources in physically active individuals and to specify distinctions between sports.