Protein Powders….Do Runners Need Them?
Protein Powders (PP) are widely marketed at runners (and other athletes). The adverts can be enticing ….but do runners really need them? Here we discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks of Protein Powders before delving into how to make the best choices if indeed your personal circumstances suggest you may benefit from taking one. We round up by giving you some Protein Powder recommendations; ones that have been tried and tested by us and our clients!
The current recommended daily intake of protein for individuals varies:
For sedentary individuals 0.83g/Kg BW/d is recommended
For active individuals, the intake ranges from 1.2g/Kg BW/d to 2.0g/Kg
2g/Kg tends to be reserved for individuals focusing on strength/resistance training,
There are many potential benefits from taking a protein powder including:
There are also potential drawbacks to taking a protein powder including:
Particular runners who may benefit from a protein powder include:
It has been established that PP could be used strategically for certain individuals on certain occasions for a limited period of time. So, for these individuals there are certain things they would want to be considering when choosing a PP. These include:
Protein concentrates: Produced by extracting protein from whole food using heat and acid or enzymes. These typically supply 60–80% protein, with the remaining 20–40% composed of fat and carbs.
Protein isolates: An additional filtering process removes more fat and carbs, further concentrating the protein. Protein isolate powders contain about 90–95% protein.
Protein hydrolysates: Produced by further heating with acid or enzymes — which breaks the bonds between amino acids — hydrolysates are absorbed more quickly by your body and muscles
Here is a short review of 3 different Protein Powder sources:
Other considerations to take into account when choosing a Protein Powder:
Side Note: Remember to drink sufficient fluids when taking protein supplements, as the body requires water to break down and metabolise protein.
Some Protein Powder Recommendations:
Protein powders are really versatile and can be used in so many different ways. Here are some ideas for you to try:
Smoothie: mix with 200ml-300ml a milk alternative eg. almond milk (but you could use dairy milk if necessary) and add various fruits and vegetables depending on your preference
Add them to cereals, oats, porridge
As a shake pre or post training Consider adding a banana (or other fruit) for some carbohydrate if required especially post training to enhance MPS.
Add a non flavoured one to a savoury dish eg. soups, stews and casseroles.
As a bedtime snack - maybe mix in some casein (the other form of milk protein) because it is thought to support sleep and improve muscle repair overnight.
BUT remember food comes first:
The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and
advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.
If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact
your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.
Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.
Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.
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