Optimizing protein intake has benefits

In its most recent position on protein, the International Society of Sports Nutrition indicated that exercising individuals require approximately 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

For a 180-pound male, this translates into a range of approximately 115 to 165 grams of protein. It should also be noted that just because a food is a protein food, it is not all protein, there is water or fat and other components of the food that are not protein, and there is a difference in the absorbability of various proteins, that make some protein choices more advantageous than others.

Clearly, the protein recommendations from the ISSN for those individuals involved in exercise is higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowance of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body-weight per day. With intakes roughly double the RDA, some controversy has existed over the safety and effectiveness for elevated protein intakes. Here’s what you need to know about protein if performance and exercise is your goal.

Multiple literature reviews indicate that no controlled scientific evidence exists showing that increased intakes of protein pose any health risks in healthy, exercising individuals.

In fact, a series of published research articles prescribed extremely high amounts of protein (3.4 to 4.4 g/kg/day) and have consistently reported no harmful effects.

For an exercising individual, 1.4 to 2.9 grams of protein per kilogram of body-weight per day is safe. Importantly, this recommendation also falls within the Institute of Medicine’s Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range of 10-35 percent protein in the diet, according to Wolfe RR, Cifelli AM, Kostas G et al. Optimizing protein intake in adults: interpretation and application of the recommended dietary allowance compared with the acceptable macro nutrient distribution range.

Further, results from many of these studies report that a higher protein intake has a significant positive impact on strength and performance. Even endurance athletes can benefit from a higher level of protein intake. Adding protein to a carbohydrate beverage during exhaustive endurance exercise suppresses markers of muscle damage post exercise and decreases muscular soreness.

As well, adding protein to carbohydrate consumption throughout a prolonged bout of endurance exercise promotes a higher whole-body net protein balance.

Improving body composition through the loss of fat mass and increasing lean body mass is often associated with improvements in physical performance and certainly physical appearance. Protein supplementation has shown over many decades of research to result in significant improvements in lean body mass in comparison to placebo treatments.

When combined with a resistance-training program, an elevated daily intake of protein can promote greater losses of fat mass and greater overall improvements in body composition.

The ISSN recommends at least 20-25 grams of protein with each main meal for exercising individuals. They also recommend eating every three to four hours. This something that is fairly common knowledge among exercisers and also dieters who want to optimize their lean body mass /fat ratio. The science behind this practice is undeniable.

Previous research found that ingesting a protein before and following exercise is beneficial for increasing muscle mass, recovery following exercise, and sustaining immune function during high-volume training periods.

Current research has found protein consumed throughout the day is important since recovery from exercise lasts 24-72 hours. This parallels results from research conducted on Isagenix performance products by exercise and nutrition researcher Paul Arciero who found elevated protein paced over the day improved markers of performance in both men and women.

Supplementing with a high quality clean sourced whey protein provides a distinct advantage over other protein sources on muscle protein synthesis. Whey protein contains an array of biologically active peptides whose amino acid sequences give them specific signaling effects to support muscle maintenance, muscle adaptation, and quality of sleep for improved recovery.

Of course, you want to get clean sourced, non-GMO, non-hormone or antibiotic treated whey from grass-fed cows to insure the best absorption and the best effect for your body. This is why I trust the Isa-Lean shake available at www.discoverthis.isagenix.com for my excellent protein source.

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Dr. Jane Riley, EdD., is a certified personal fitness trainer, nutritional adviser and behavior change specialist. She can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, 212-8119 cell/text, www.janerileyfitness.com., www.discoverthis.isagenix.com

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