Research shows that strength training, endurance events, and some sports increase your need for protein. While the RDA (recommended daily allowance) is roughly 60 grams, many of us require more.
Factors affecting an athlete's protein needs include:
While it's important to get enough protein, many athletes involved in strength training and bodybuilding may be getting too much. Protein that is not needed by the body, and is not burned off, will be stored as fat.
Probably the biggest risk of excess protein is not getting the carbohydrates needed to maintain and replace muscle glycogen stores. You need the energy from carbs to fuel and build muscle!
Risks of excess protein
Listed below are general guidelines for protein intake. This of course should be individualized based on an athlete's specific needs. These are not minimum requirements.
Grams of protein per pound of body weight
Current RDA for sedentary adults: 0.4
Recreational exerciser, adult: 0.5 - 0.75
Competitive athlete, adult: 0.6 - 0.9
Growing teenage athlete: 0.8 - 0.9
Adult building muscle mass: 0.7 - 0.9
Athlete restricting calories: 0.8 - 0.9
Maximum useable amount for adults: 0.9
(Lemon et al., Walberg et al.)
Protein content of commonly eaten foods (grams of protein)
Egg white, one: 3.5
Cheddar cheese, 1 ounce: 7
Milk, (1%) 1 cup: 8
Hamburger, 4 ounces, broiled: 30
Chicken breast, 4 ounces, roasted: 35
Tuna, 6 ounces: 40
Beans, 1 cup: 12
Tofu, 3 ounces: 11
Pasta, 1 cup: 7
Eat right and perform better. Find a nutrition plan for you.
Barbara Lewin, R.D.,L.D. is a registered dietitian and consulting sports nutritionist with over 18 years of experience in teaching athletes effective and realistic ways to improve their health and optimize performance.She can be reached at 954-531-0477 or at www.Barbaralewin.com