For Immediate Release:
August 21, 2008
In a joint statement issued by the presidents of the World Anti-Doping Agency, International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the following foods have been placed on the list of banned substances issued by WADA:
yam, green bananas, cocoa, dasheen, breadfruit, ackee and saltfish, mackeral run down, turned cornmeal, Jerked pork and chicken, escovietched fish Malta, Supligen, Milo (said to be the food drink of Champions), Horlicks and coconut oil. Jamaicans seem to become extremely athletic on diets with these foods.
Coming out of WADA labs, one of the major banned substances from Jamaica is the Cassava root, a high fibre, high starch tuber root eaten in Jamaica. It has properties which are said to enhance endurance and cause muscle fibres to twitch faster. This comes after extensive study of the diets of the Jamaican athletes which took part in the Beijing 2008 Olympic games.
Though natural foods it is felt by WADA that these foods because of their unique properties give Jamaican athletes an unfair advantage. High concentrations of carbohydrates and other naturally occurring substances are said to be mimicking the effects of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). Some foods have been noted to in particular cause an unusual increase in the male hormone testosterone. As such WADA has seen it fit to add these foods to the list of banned substances.
Given the sensitivity of this issue, Jamaican athletes participating in the current Olympic games underway in Beijing have not been banned but must submit to these new restrictions within the next two years. Two substances which have been discovered in testing of the Jamaican foods are “yamstenine”, a yam derivative and “cocoasterone”, a derivative of the cocoa plant. These substances have been found to mimic nandrolone and the blood booster EPO, hence the preliminary banning of the substances themselves and the banning of the foods they derive from.
This ruling will also affect other Caribbean and some African countries which share similar diets as Jamaicans.