Do Athletes Need Extra Protein?

Any serious body builder would swear by protein supplements. They don't go anywhere without their protein shakes or their protein bars. But one needs to ask, is this necessary? Does it really help or is it just another marketing scam that has made a few entrepreneurs a lot of money. After all, was the body designed to need so much extra protein? Don't we get what we need from eating a proper diet, even if we exercise a lot?

Keep in mind that just because an event accompanies a result, does not mean that it's that even which caused that result. The catalyst is working out. The result is fitness and more muscle. Was the extra protein a necessity?

For many years scientists and gym buffs have differed on opinions. Scientists have their studies to show that most people, even athletes, can get plenty of protein from eating a proper diet. But athletes, especially body builders, swear that loads of extra protein is needed. So, who do you believe? How about doing something in middle.

The average person needs, at the most, 1.0 gram of protein for every kg of their body weight. For example, if someone is 90 Kg, they should consume about 90 grams of protein per day, from a variety of sources. The most serious athlete/body builder, according to science, needs, at the most, 1.5 grams of protein for every kg of their body weight. While most serious body builders would have you believe that you need twice as much, if not more. If you do decide to take in protein supplements you might want to consider whey.

Warning, protein is an energy source. And, as with any energy source, if the calories are not used for energy they will be converted to fat! So be careful! In addition, do not ignore consuming other foods that contain carbohydrates and fat, as they are also important to proper health.

Some example of natural protein sources;

  • Eggs(about 5 grams each)
  • Milk (about 10 grams per cup)
  • Cheese (about 30 grams per cup
  • Meet, fish, chicken
  • Nuts of all kinds (about 15-18 grams per half a cup)
  • Beans, lentils (about 20 grams per cup cooked)
  • Peanut butter
  • Tofu (about 40 grams per cup)
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