Athletes Should Pay Close Attention to Protein Intake

Protein is a critical dietary component that can pay big dividends if managed correctly in the diet. Researchers from the University of New Mexico led by Kurt Escobar summarized the importance of protein in the active athlete’s diet. If you want to increase muscle, you should consume close to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram bodyweight per day. Consuming protein shortly before or after workouts enhances muscle protein synthesis. Co-ingesting carbohydrates with protein increases muscle protein synthesis and provides fuel for glycogen re-synthesis and skeletal muscle and the liver. Consuming 25-gram doses of protein throughout the day stimulates a more consistent increase in muscle protein synthesis. Elevated protein intake works best when combined with intense weight training. Finally, increased protein intake helps maintain lean muscle mass when trying to lose body fat. (Strength and Conditioning Journal, 37: 23-34, 2015)

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