A few words about protein

As a personal trainer I get asked about protein a lot.

'How much should I have?'

'Is this 'high protein' snickers any good?'

'Should I take whey or casein?'

'What is the best source of protein?'

Protein is the 'in' food of the moment. It's probably protein's turn in the limelight. It is very heavily marketed and seemingly everywhere. And the market is growing.

I'll start this word on protein with a simple story. I travelled to the Commonwealth Games with the women's hockey team from Wales. We were competing against some of the best teams in the world, all ranked more highly than us with the exception of Ghana. We were definitely in a high performance environment. We left Wales with two tubs of protein. Nearly a month later, we returned...........with 1 and half tubs. These athletes know how to refuel after highly intense competition. In fact, they saw me once eating macaroni cheese in the food hall and never let me forget it. They knew it contained no high quality protein. They knew about POP (the nutrition system used by Hockey Wales and Dr.Mark Mullineaux Health and Fitness) and how to use it.

Protein: how much? Nowhere near as much as people think. Normal range is about 0.8-1.8g per kilogram bodyweight per day. That's not much. Athletes ensure they have a small quantity at every meal, but it is small and it must be high quality protein (containing all the essential amino acids). The reason it's important is that it's required for muscle protein synthesis. But this does not mean you need mountains of it. Quality before quantity.

Is the 'high' protein snickers a high quality protein. Simple: no. High quality proteins are packaged in a food containing less than 10g of fat per 100g of product. There are a series of other characteristics, but it would fail on this one straight away.

Whey or casein? Simple answer again. Neither. At Hockey Wales, we share a message common and familiar to most international athletes: eat food. You should easily be able to get all the high quality protein you need from food. Explore, first and foremost, what a high quality protein is (I'll look at this in later blogs). Milk would be right up there and is often the high quality protein of choice amongst elite athletes. If you're an athlete, be very wary of taking supplements of any kind. If you do take them, ensure they are batch tested and that the batch appears on the informed sport website.

The POP nutrition system simplifies the intake of protein.

Eat food.

For more information on protein intake, refer to the international society of sports nutrition https://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/

For more information on supplements refer to the UKAD website: https://www.ukad.org.uk/

Dr. Mark Mullineaux is a UK Anti Doping Accredited Advisor

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