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Protein for Athletes: Quantity, Quality, and Timing

Rosenbloom, Christine PhD, RD, CSSD

doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e3181b9cc4a
Nutrition and Physical Activity

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

There's a lot new on protein and physical performance

Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, CSSD, is a professor of nutrition at Georgia State University, Atlanta. She is the sports dietitian for the athletes at Georgia State and conducts research in sports nutrition.

Correspondence: Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, CSSD, Division of Nutrition, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303 (

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.