Diet guides have been around for as long as people started being concerned with their bodies and since whenever that was there have been a plethora of plans to get into “perfect” shape.
Whether it be a high protein diet, an exclusive carbohydrate diet, or a straight out fast, no one has quite pinned down exactly what the best universal course of eating should be to get that model look. In this article, I’ll be focusing on protein and the process of creating a protein-centric diet, specifically with the lifestyle of an athlete in mind.
Food for Thought
Dietitians, sporting food analysts, and various other interested parties often believe their diet is the answer to society’s quest to forget “the look”. We’ll often witness such people publishing material, professing these full-proof methods, only to release another book some years later with a totally different focus.
Athletes are often the center of such studies and pieces of literature.
On a technical level, proteins are comprised of amino acids and are large molecules, functioning as enzymes playing a large role in the immune system, creating structure and form to cells and tissue. Protein serves a multitude of functions.
A solid dose of it creates that feeling of “fullness” after a meal. As an athlete, a major reason why a protein-rich diet is promoted is due to the fact that – amongst producing enzymes and shaping immune complexes – the amino acids provided by protein serve to rebuild tissue, necessary for muscle repair and growth.
Often protein shakes are consumed in an athlete’s diet in order to more easily monitor and manipulate their protein intake. When it comes to recommended protein consumption the following levels are usually recommended according to various requirements.
- Endurance Sports: 1.1 – 1.4 g / kg body weight / day
- Power Sports: 1.4 – 1.8g / kg body weight / day
- Regular Diet : 0.9g / kg body weight / day
If you’re looking for a protein-rich diet the types of food to consider include poultry, lean meat cuts, ideally not red meat, low-fat dairy, beans, and legumes. Plant sources of protein do not individually provide the complex range of amino acids that animal meat does and thus need to be mixed with other plant matter in order to add value.
In typical quantities of food often not enough protein is acquired to satisfy conditions for optimal performance and for this reason many athletes turn to whey, pea, or soy protein as supplements, while protein bars and shakes are also popular alternative sources that contribute to effective protein diets.