Examining A Critical Issue: Strength & Power from Protein?
|by Jack A. Medina, M.A.
and Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H.
|January 8, 2008
One question I was almost sure to get in
2007, by both parents of athletes and
athletes, was regarding protein and its
potential for increasing strength and power.
There are a multitude of "protein powders" on
the market, and the number is increasing at
an alarming rate. The controversy is "How
Much Protein Do You Need?" Before answering
this question, let's talk about where the
Recommendations for Protein Intake come from?
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is the main
scientific body that generates dietary
recommendations for the general public. This
large group of scientists performs an
exhaustive review of available scientific
research and comes up with the Recommended
Dietary Allowance (RDA) for various nutrients.
Official Protein Recommendations
For men and women 19 and older it is 0.8
grams per kilogram of body weight (2.2
pounds) or 0.36 grams per pound of body
weight, but remember, the RDA is a guideline
for how much protein to consume to prevent a
deficiency; it's the MINIMAL amount you need.
There's a difference between what is minimal
and what is optimal. Scientists determine the
RDA by determining how much nitrogen is going
into the body and how much is leaving the
body. This is a good method for determining
how much protein is needed to prevent a
deficiency but isn't a very good method for
determining optimal amounts needed for
maximizing strength or muscle mass in
strength athletes or maximizing endurance in
Most available scientific research indicates
an athlete needs between 1.2 - 1.6 grams of
protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds). As I've
said before, some athletes consume this much
in one meal. What if you consume more than
this amount? Will it help performance or will
it be harmful? First, there is NO good
scientific evidence that consuming more than
the amounts listed above will have a positive
effect on strength and power. This is not
supplement manufacturers would like you to
What About Too Much Protein?
What about harmful effects? Most research
indicates that high protein intakes can be
beneficial to bone density and there is NO
relationship between protein intake and loss
of kidney function with age. However, this
does NOT mean you cannot consume too much
protein, to the detriment of other critical
nutrients like carbohydrate and fat.
Remember, carbohydrate is the primary fuel
for intense exercise and is the ONLY fuel
your brain uses! If you shortchange your
carbohydrate intake you could negatively
affect your performance. And even though fat
has a bad reputation, it serves many critical
functions, including one of the most
important ones for the strength and power
athlete - hormone production.
The Best Type of Protein
What's the best type of protein? I wrote an
article entitled "Whey Protein vs. Soy
Protein" in my booklet "Power Pack for the
Winning Edge" (available on my website at www.JackMedina.com).
Suffice it to say here that one protein
source is not better than the other. In fact,
there are more "vegetarians" in the NFL now
than ever before. Soy protein is one of the
most balanced and digestible proteins
available and is derived from vegetable
If you look into the real scientific
institutions and organizations like the
American College of Obstetrics and
Gynecology, and the American Diabetic
Association, most actually state that soy can
be the sole source of protein in a healthy
diet. These are respected organizations of
scientists and medical professionals; if any
of these reputable groups had any health
concerns regarding soy foods, this
information would be easy to find.
Best Time to Take Protein
A number of studies indicate protein should
be consumed, along with some carbohydrate,
within an hour after training ends. There
also seems to be a limit in how much protein
your body can use to build muscles in one
sitting. Most research indicates that 20 -25
grams of high-quality protein will get the
job done. Any more than that and your body
will simply convert it to carbohydrate (if
you are in shape) and use it for energy, or
fat and send it to the Fat Depot. Muscle and
fitness do not come in a can!
For the Best Nutrition
The best nutrition always comes from whole
foods in their most natural form, and high in
nutrient density. That's what Nutripoints
is all about. Nutripoints helps you choose
the very best proteins, carbohydrates and
low-fat foods available. Choose from 3600+
foods to develop your own healthy eating plan.
Once you've done your best at eating the best
foods, then use Juice
Plus+ Complete® and
Plus+® Capsules to bridge the gap
between your best efforts and optimal
nutrition. Juice Plus+ Complete® is a
meal-replacement drink that contains
plant-based protein, whole food-based fruit
and vegetable juice concentrates, and complex
carbohydrate which allows protein to be
resynthesized faster for quicker recovery
after a workout.
Check out our special offer this month. Place
an online order of $25 or more, and receive a
FREE copy of our "Power Pack for the Winning
Edge" booklet ($9.95 value).
Order now to take advantage of this offer!
Happy New Year!
Yours in Fitness and Health,
Jack A. Medina, M.A.
Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H.
Designs for Fitness & Wellness
541-474-2454 or Toll-Free Order Line: 1-866-204-8786