Growing muscles is not a child’s play. Young athletes often feel that consuming protein is like a magic potion or a fairy dust on their food that would help their muscles grow.
The reality is quite the opposite and eating protein alone will not help you build muscles. Rather, it is a complex process which involves a combination of adequate consumption of protein and calories, hormones like human growth hormone and testosterone and a healthy dose of exercise.
Go through these facts and tips before you decide to load yourself with protein-rich food for a muscular physique.
Protein to Repair Muscles
Though protein cannot build muscles as a standalone nutrient, it plays a pivotal part in an athlete’s diet. Performing exercises such as running or weight lifting breaks down some of your muscle cells. Consuming protein from foods helps to repair such damages due to exercise and build up stronger muscles.
Neither Too Much nor Too Little
Protein, integral for muscle building, should be taken in the right quantities for positive results. Excess protein consumed beyond the quantity required by the body is converted to calories and is usually stored as fat in the body. Too little protein consumption leads to the breaking down of muscles by the body to supply the desired protein levels and hence resulting in muscle loss. The key is to eat a balanced diet that includes the right amounts of calories and protein so that your body will not use the protein as a calorie source but will spare it to build muscles and repair them when needed.
Athletes Do Meet Required Protein Levels
Athletes need more protein than others. Protein requirements differ based on a person’s age, gender and body weight, with kids and teens needing about 1.0 to 1.6 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. Non-athletes require a much lesser quantity, about 0.8 to 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Most athletes fulfill their protein requirements. The amazing fact here is that, young athletes consume two to three times the recommended dietary allowance for protein.
Stay Away from Supplements
Athletes nowadays go for protein supplements such as protein powder or a high-protein drink which is not required and might even be dangerous. These supplements can result in exaggerated protein intake, stressing out the kidneys and leading to dehydration. Moreover, the risk for contamination with steroids or hormones is real, as governance of dietary supplements lies in the hands of manufacturers. If you feel that you require supplements, it is better to consult a dietitian/nutritionist before starting on supplements. Reach out to reputed sports nutritionists/dietitians at www.firsteatright.com to solve your queries. They can even help you plan a healthy diet chart to fulfill your nutritional needs.
We can cheerfully conclude that food alone is sufficient to meet your protein needs. Ensure to eat foods that are rich sources of protein, like the ones mentioned above.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.