After a successful event last year, we held another even discussing sports medicine and its role in one’s health and diet.

Protein is an important part of a training diet and plays a key role in post-exercise recovery and repair. Protein needs are generally met (and often exceeded) by most athletes who consume sufficient energy in their diet.

The amount of protein recommended for sporting people is only slightly higher than that recommended for the general public. For example:

  • General public and active people – the daily recommended amount of protein is 0.8 to 1.0 g/kg of body weight (a 60 kg person should eat around 45 to 60 g of protein daily).
  • Sports people involved in non-endurance events – people who exercise daily for 45 to 60 minutes should consume between 1.0 to 1.2 g/kg of body weight per day.
  • Sports people involved in endurance events and strength events – people who exercise for longer periods (more than one hour) or who are involved in strength exercise, such as weight lifting, should consume between 1.2 to 2.0 g protein/kg of body weight per day.
  • Athletes trying to lose weight on a reduced energy diet – increased protein intakes up to 2.0 g/kg of body weight per day can be beneficial in reducing loss of muscle mass.
  • For athletes interested in increasing lean mass or muscle protein synthesis, consumption of a high-quality protein source such as whey protein or milk containing around 20 to 25 g protein in close proximity to exercise (for example, within the period immediately to 2 hours after exercise) may be beneficial.

As a general approach to achieving optimal protein intakes, it is suggested to space out protein intake fairly evenly over the course of a day, for instance around 25 to 30 g protein every 3 to 5 hours, including as part of regular meals.

There is currently some evidence to show that protein supplements or protein powders directly improve athletic performance. Therefore, for most athletes, additional protein supplements are likely to improve sport performance.

While more research is required, other concerns associated with very high-protein diets include:

  • increased cost
  • potential negative impacts on bones and kidney function
  • increased body weight if protein choices are also high in fat
  • increased cancer risk (particularly with high red or processed meat intakes)
  • displacement of other nutritious foods in the diet, such as bread, cereal, fruit and vegetables.
Sport MedSci

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