What are my protein requirements?

In recent years, with the growing trend of keeping fit and trying to improve ones physical appearance, protein has been thrown in to the spotlight as a nutrient that is even more essential to those who exercise on a regular basis. Various studies and key figures within the health industry have concluded that the physically active population require greater amounts of protein in their diet than those who do not exercise. Whilst in an ideal world we would be able to consume enough protein in our normal daily diet to satisfy our needs, this isn’t always the case and we often need to turn to other dietary sources to fulfil our quota. The athletic population, now educated to know the importance of protein, often use protein supplements to boost their daily protein intake. These can come in various forms and guises, using various sources for the all important additional protein content. It seems the most popular form of protein supplement is that of the protein shake. A quick, convenient and often great tasting solution that offers high protein content, low carbohydrates and fat, they also offer highly bioavailable protein sources which provide great results.

As a quick example of the dietary needs of the athletic population the following table can give you a rough idea of how much protein one needs to consume:

Endurance athlete: 1.2-1.4 g per kg body weight/day
Strength and power athlete: 1.6-1.8 g per kg body weight/day
Athletes on a weight gain programme: 1.8-2.0 g per kg body weight/day

Therefore, using the above table we can see that an average male of around 70kg body weight, will require up to 126g of protein per day to satisfy his strength and power training routine. When you consider the average grilled chicken breast contains around 25g of protein, that’s a lot of chicken that you would need to eat everyday! When a protein shake can easily contain the same amount of protein as a chicken breast, you can instantly see the attraction and convenience of a protein supplement.

Without question, the most popular forms of protein shake are those sourced from dairy including whey protein and milk protein. These forms of protein offer neutral tasting shakes that can be quite delicious when combined with specific flavours and they also offer excellent nutritional benefits. The key to any protein shake being the protein content, the bioavailability (how well it passes through your digestive system) and the amino acid profile. Unfortunately, dairy sourced protein is not the ideal solution for everyone. Certain diet types will not allow dairy products whilst some individuals suffer allergic reactions to dairy meaning alternative sources are required. On top of this, some people just simply don’t like or agree with dairy produce.