Protein is mainly used for structural roles in the body, for muscles and cell membranes as well as being used as part of many enzymes and for transport of nutrients around the body.
Proteins are made up of 20 different amino acids, 8 of which are essential, the remainder can be synthesised in the body. The only product to naturally contain all eight essential amino acids are eggs. The eight essential amino acids are:
histidine (in babies)
As with carbohydrate, for athletes it is difficult to assign a standard amount of protein required as a percentage of the total energy intake for each day. Therefore, protein requirements are also calculated in grams per kg of body weight per day.
Approximate requirements are as follows:
|Type of Individual||g/kg|
|Endurance training (moderate to heavy)||1.2 - 1.6|
|Extreme training prior to competition||2.0|
|Strength (heavy training)||1.2 - 1.7|
|Adolescent athletes - with development needs||2.0|
Athletes can gain all the protein needed from the diet. There are some cases where athletes may require a supplement, for example, vegetarians or vegans. Supplements provide a large amount of protein with little of anything else. If a supplement is required, a protein carbohydrate mix is the best way forward.
The following provide 10g protein:
|2 small eggs||50g grilled fish|
|30g cheese||50g canned tuna/salmon|
|70g cottage cheese||250ml soya millk|
|40g lean chicken||120g tofu|
|35g lean beef||100g soya 'meat'|
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