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STACK Performance Nutrition: Best Sources of Protein for Athletes
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A critical misconception is the belief that you need a protein supplement to meet your daily nutritional requirements. Some athletes are drinking three or four protein shakes a day, while already consuming a protein-heavy diet. This stems from the mistaken idea that the more protein you take in, the more muscle you build. Athletes should strive to meet their protein needs with their diet, using protein supplements only if a deficiency exists.
Recommended protein consumption is .8 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. One kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds, so a 200-pound guy weighs about 91 kg. Thus, he needs between 73 and 137 grams of protein per day, which is less than half of what some people take in.
Consuming more than the recommended amount of protein has consequences. If protein intake outweighs carb intake, the body begins to use the protein as a fuel source, producing ketones, which are toxic to the body. The kidneys have to work extra hard to eliminate the ketones, causing unneeded strain on organs, dehydration and even bad breath.
When considering supplementing your diet with protein, educate yourself on your dietary needs. Leading sports authorities recommended drinking one shake a day, about a half-hour following a workout.
To learn more about the best kinds of protein, check out STACK's exclusive content on the best protein sources.