Sports Nutritionists May Need To Rethink Everything They’ve Been Preaching About Protein

Sports nutrition is a wild west of theories and recommendations, and that’s before we even get onto the exercise regimes themselves. There are so many varying opinions on the matter that at times it seems like everyone is just making stuff up.

Research from the University of Stirling has found individuals with more muscle mass do not need more protein after resistance exercise and the Health and exercise scientists from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence have found no difference in the muscle growth response to protein after a full body workout between larger and smaller participants.

Kevin Tipton, Professor of Sport, Health and Exercise Science in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, said: “There is a widely-held assumption that larger athletes need more protein, with nutrition recommendations often given in direct relation to body mass.

“In our study, participants completed a bout of whole-body resistance exercise, where earlier studies – on which protein recommendations are based – examined the response to leg-only exercise. This difference suggests the amount of muscle worked in a single session has a bigger impact on the amount of protein needed afterwards, than the amount of muscle in the body.”

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According to the study consuming 40 grams of protein after exercise was more effective at stimulating muscle growth than 20 grams. This increase occurred irrespective of the size of the participants.

“In order for nutritionists to recommend the correct amount of protein we first need to consider specific demands of the workout, regardless of athletes’ size. This throws commonly held recommendations into question and suggests the amount of protein our muscles need after exercise may be dependent on the type of workout performed. These results are limited to younger, trained men so we may see different results with other groups, such as older individuals or females digesting different amounts of protein.”

The full paper can be found here, for the technical minded.

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