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  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.

Jack Medina
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 endurance athletes.

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 what the supplement manufacturers would like you to believe.

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.

Protein Types
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 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 sources.

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!

Fruits and Vegs
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 Juice 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

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Author/speaker and an expert in Sports Performance Enhancement”. Jack Medina is available for speaking engagements, consultation and personal training of athletes in various sports, professional and amateur. Jack has written a new book, “The Winning Edge: Fueling & Training The Body For Peak Performance” with Dr. Roy Vartabedian, an internationally known New York Times Best Selling Author of the “Nutripoints” program for optimal nutrition. Both books are available online at Jack also has a monthly ezine (newsletter) available free which can be subscribed to on his website. All subscriber’s addresses will be confidential and not sold or given to any other organization or group.

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