Protein Supplementation

Article by Tanya Mezher

Protein is necessary to build, maintain and repair muscle, particularly when combined with exercise, which increases muscle protein turnover. The recommended dietary intake of protein is 0.8 g/kg/day for healthy adults and 1.2-2.0 g/kg/day for athletes. High quality sources should be eaten regularly after exercise and throughout the day for optimal use. Greater intake may be necessary for short periods of intense training, reduced energy intake, or injury, to prevent body mass and muscle loss. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends regular intake of high quality protein from dietary sources such as lean meats, eggs, milk, and vegetable proteins, using supplementation as a last resort when whole food protein sources do not meet needs. There is minimal evidence from well-controlled studies that support the use of protein supplementation to improve athletic performance. If you must supplement with products such as protein powders, make sure to look for certification labels such as NSF or USP to ensure the product is safe and you are getting what you pay for. 

Bottom line: Most people can meet their protein needs through whole food protein sources like meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, beans, eggs, soy, nuts, and seeds.  

For more info:

ACSM Position Stand: Nutrition and Athletic Performance

NIH: Dietary Supplements for Exercise and Athletic Performance