Protein Nutrition


What The Experts Say: Protein Nutrition 

DISCLAIMER:  The following report is for educational purposes only. The author does not necessarily recommend any of the dietary advice contained within the article, but endeavors only to report what appears to be some of the latest research into dietary recommendations for healthy individuals before and after exercise sessions. All readers are strongly advised to seek the advice of their medical doctor and dietician before using any form of dietary supplementation.


Protein quality and timing are just as important as quantity.

Protein is an essential nutrient, being the second largest component of our biochemistry, after water, and comprising 15% of body-weight.

There are over 20 amino acids, with 9 being essential.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8-1.0gm/kg of body-weight daily.

Intense training requires 1.5-2.0x RDA

Athletes need 50-120% more protein

Protein intake greater than 1.0g/kg body-weight is sufficient to build muscle IF energy intake is adequate

You can eat up to 3.0x the RDA of protein safely

High protein diets May actually increase bone mineral density

High protein diets DO NOT cause dehydration

High protein diets are associated with LOWER blood pressure, not higher pressure

If on a high protein diet, drink extra water to help the kidneys flush the extra urea

High protein can help suppress the appetite, and reduce muscle loss when dieting, if energy intake is adequate

Genetics determine potential

Protein from supplements is NOT superior to protein from food

Leucine MAY be the most important amino acid

Meat eaters WILL gain more muscle mass than vegetarians

Kidney problems from protein intake has never been documented in otherwise healthy people

Calories, not protein, is the most important factor for increasing muscle mass

Low fat milk, post exercise is the best source of protein

Branch-chain amino acids (BCAA’S) supplements while restricting calories to lose weight does NOT spare muscle mass


50 grams carbs with 5-10g protein. Must be low fat to allow for rapid gastric emptying. The carb’s allow amino’s to be used for muscle repair rather than energy supply. For very long events, 73 gram carb’s with 18 grams protein in every litre of mixture. The best source of protein is whey isolate, as it provides for fast release into the bloodstream.

Carbohydrate is essential to provide energy for the workout, and to minimize the risk of not replacing the lost muscle tissue broken down while exercising. It also reduces the effects of cortisol and adrenaline, which are catabolic stress hormones released during and after exercise.

Adding a small amount of protein with the carbohydrate mixture shortly before commencing the training session provides a very potent stimulator of muscle protein synthesis. At least 2-4 grams of carb’s for every gram of protein is required in this pre-workout mixture. If  intensity is to be high, then carb’s to protein should be 3-4 : 1

Even with adequate carbohydrate consumption, endurance training can deplete muscles of protein if the protein intake is inadequate.

Mixing carbs and protein together during and after workouts can also reduce muscle damage and soreness.


Within 30 minutes, 1.0g carbs : 0.5 gm protein per kg bodyweight, then every 15-60 minutes for up to 5 hours, depending on the intensity of the workout. Normally, a high carbohydrate meal should be eaten within two hours post exercise.

The addition of protein and carb’s together yields a 50% greater muscle protein synthesis than protein alone, partly because amino acid intake is regulated by hormones, primarily insulin, which is released when carb’s are eaten.

The best protein is whey or soy because it is fast release. Athletes require 1.5-2.0 gram protein/kg bodyweight.

Greater than 10 grams protein post exercise doesn’t provide extra benefit. The excess will be used for energy and not muscle building.

Highly trained athletes attain positive nitrogen balance with 1.2-1.6g protein/kg body-weight.

Extra protein won’t provide extra benefit; protein intake above 2.0g/kg is excreted

Animal protein is the best post-exercise source of protein.

Post-exercise requirements are: 1. Water–to replace fluid lost through sweating, and glycogen fixation.

2. Electrolytes–sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium.

3. Carbohydrate–to replace muscle glycogen ( 1.0-1.85g/kg per hour )

4. Protein–repair muscle, and to replace the amino acid pool


Eating a mix of proteins has been shown to provide a more sustained release of amino acids.


If having an evening snack, the best protein is cassein because it’s slower release, with the best source being low fat milk.


If this is your goal, then large doses of carbs and protein are unnecessary. Simply follow the mixture recommendations, but keep the daily calorie intake lower.

Shane  Shiels

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