Protein Rich Diets – Do They Work?

867879_eggs_diet_5Protein needs are somewhat increased for athletes and active individuals, but these protein needs are actually quite simple to meet. Recommendations for adequate protein intake are 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg body weight per day for endurance athletes (runners, cyclists, swimmers, dancers etc.), and 1.6 to 1.7 g/kg body weight per day for resistance and strength-trained athletes (gymnasts, weight-lifters, martial arts, etc.).

The most well-known and most often included foods providing protein in the diet include beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, lentils, baked beans, black beans, kidney beans, and nuts of various kinds. Care should be exercised when choosing recurring sources of protein, as some such as the meats and dairy can be high in saturated fats. Choosing lower fat versions is a good option.

Additional sources of protein include nut butters like almond or peanut butter, seeds, tofu, free-range eggs, yogurt, lowfat milk, soymilk, bean/corn combinations (such as cooked beans served on a flour tortilla or mixed with corn in a combination dish). Combining grains such as wheat, barley, brown rice, or oats with corn, beans, and/or lentils also produces a healthy protein that will easily and inexpensively increase daily protein intake.

The bottom line is to examine the diet of each athlete individually and determine specific nutritional needs based on energy need, dietary preferences, and economic factors. Achieving adequate protein intake can be simple and stress-free, which are core tenets of a healthy diet, after all.

Sports Nutrition

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