On Friday, I mentioned that I’d have a guest post by a Registered Dietitian for you today.
Meet my friend Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is an RD, she’s probably the sweetest person I’ve ever met, and has just gotten into running in the last year. I met her through one of my best friends, who happens to be married to Elizabeth’s brother. After reading one of Elizabeth’s comments on a previous post, I asked her if she’d write me a few guest posts. I’m not an expert, and I talk about nutrition and health a lot on my blog, so I’d like to bring you some opinions from actual experts practicing in the field.
Take it away, Elizabeth!
PROTEIN … DO YOU NEED TO SUPPLEMENT?
Protein is essential for tissue integrity, hormone production and as an energy source. For general health and well-being, the average healthy adult requires about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily (editor’s note — KILOS not lbs. When I first read this I read .8 per pound, and freaked because I wasn’t getting enough protein, but then I re-read and saw kilos, and realized I’m getting too much when I supplement.). Some believe that loading up on protein, specifically in supplement form, will enhance athletic performance and build extra muscle. This is a confusing and controversial topic and has yet to be proven true. We need not consider additional protein supplementation unless someone is of advanced age, has wounds that need healing or is in another stressed or disease state. Protein needs are easily met by choosing a balanced diet with a variety of healthy proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Excess protein over the long term can, in fact, be harmful. Your body can absorb roughly 30 grams of protein at one time. Although uncommon, excessive protein intake can lead to dehydration and calcium loss in the urine, which may contribute to osteoporosis over time and overload of the kidneys. It must be said that most Americans have no trouble meeting daily protein requirements and most do not overload. Excess protein can also lead to fat formation, as excess energy from extra protein is not stored for later use. No matter what the source, extra energy intake is stored as fat.
The main link between protein and weight loss is the satiety factor that protein provides.Although both carbohydrate and protein contain 4 calories per gram (vs fat’s 9 calories/gram), the protein takes longer to break down and will keep you full longer.
When it comes to protein requirements for athletes, one would need to be a serious body builder or athlete to consider increasing protein intake above and beyond daily requirements.This could look like 1.0-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
As for the idea that protein is really only beneficial after a workout, this is not true. Let’s say that a 180 lb or 82 kg person’s protein requirements for the day are around 66 grams. Ideally, this would be spread out over the day as you can only process 30 grams at one time. As always, the best source of protein does not come from supplements, but from real food. Here is an article written by Nancy Clark, RD, MS and sports nutrition expert which supports this idea:
Q. I’VE HEARD I SHOULD I EAT PROTEIN RIGHT AFTER I EXERCISE TO ENHANCE THE SPEED OF GLYCOGEN RECOVERY?
A. Supposedly, eating some protein along with carbohydrates after exercise stimulates insulin, and that stimulates greater glycogen uptake. At least five carefully controlled studies have shown the addition of post-exercise protein does not offer any advantages when the athlete eats adequate calories from carbs.
My advice: If you refuel with wholesome, refreshing meals that appeal to you, you’ll inevitably get the nutrients you need. Fruit & yogurt, nuts & raisins, bagel sandwich and pasta with meat sauce are justa few popular recovery foods that offer an enjoyable combination of both protein and carbs to refuel, rebuild and repair muscles.
Nancy Clark, MS, RD is Director of Nutrition Services at SportsMedicine Associates in Brookline MA. She is author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Second Edition ($23) and her new Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions ($20). Both are available via www.nancyclarkrd.com
Taken from: http://jeffgalloway.com/nutrition/nancy/protein_power.html. December 27, 2012.
Here is another article that references Nancy Clark and protein supplementation for weight lifters. Again, it states that there still is not enough evidence to support protein loading for muscle building or specific timing needed to optimize this.
Bottom line: Eat real food in moderation.
Elizabeth Wyatt, RD, LD
What do you think? Do you think you need to supplement? Or no?
After re-reading and noticing that Elizabeth had said “kilos” and not “pounds” of body weight, I realized I am getting enough protein with one or 1/2 a scoop of protein supplement on days I don’t eat much protein-rich food. However, I’m still planning to drink a post-workout smoothie with a scoop of protein on days that I work out longer than an hour.