Nutrition Today

Skip Navigation LinksHome > September/October 2009 - Volume 44 - Issue 5 > Protein for Athletes: Quantity, Quality, and Timing
Nutrition Today:
doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e3181b9cc4a
Nutrition and Physical Activity

Protein for Athletes: Quantity, Quality, and Timing

Rosenbloom, Christine PhD, RD, CSSD

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Protein is the favorite nutrient of athletes because of its ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. While the exact amount of protein for muscle growth is not certain it is possible that amounts greater than the recommended dietary allowance of 0.8 g/kg are needed, although the jury is still out. Current guidelines suggest 1.2 to 1.7 g/kg as the amount of protein needed to improve aerobic capacity through mitochondria synthesis and build muscle mass and strength. The timing of protein intake appears to be the most important factor in achieving positive training adaptations. The period immediately after exercise is currently considered the ideal time. High-quality protein sources that contain all of the essential amino acids appear to be the most anabolic. Athletes who consume high-protein diets should also ingest adequate fluids to help prevent dehydration and consume adequate fruits and vegetables to offset any urinary calcium losses that may occur when protein intakes are high

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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