Busting Myths Around Proteins and Diet


Football is a highly competitive sport that includes high intensity running and demands a high endurance – these are impossible to achieve without careful attention to Nutrition. There are a lot of myths and notions around the role of protein in the diet for athletes, let’s get started with separating the facts from the myths.

Health and nutrition are imperative to football fitness and despite the excessive focus on Protein, let’s see if Protein supplements are necessary if you are consuming a variety of food and include good sources of protein. If you want to build or maintain muscle for health, engaging in resistance activities that you enjoy and getting the nutrients you need from food is your best bet.

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, seeds, and soy products are good sources of protein.

Curious about how many grams of protein you need each day? Most of us need about 0.8 grams for every kilogram of body weight. Let’s break that down:
Step 1: Weight in pounds ÷ 2.2 = weight in kilograms
Step 2: Weight in kilograms x 0.8 = Average Daily Protein Need,

For example, a man who weighs 170 lbs (77 kg) would need 62 grams of protein/day. A 140 lb (64 kg) woman needs 51 grams/day.

Are you taking protein supplements? Maybe you’ve heard that they will bulk you up or help keep you healthy. First of all, taking protein supplements will not build muscle. It’s the resistance activities (exercise) that will maintain or develop muscles.

Protein supplements do provide protein and calories. If you get enough protein and calories from food, you already have the building blocks necessary to maintain and grow muscles. Most of us, even vegetarians and athletes, get enough protein from food. Moreover, food provides other nutrients that you often won’t find in protein supplements. For example, milk has calcium, vitamin D, and riboflavin; nuts contain fiber, iron, and vitamin E.

So, you’ve decided that you still really want the protein supplement. Research shows that protein supplements are generally not harmful to our health when taking the recommended amount. However, taking large amounts (more than is recommended on the product) for an extended period of time can cause strain on your kidneys, especially if you consume a large amount of protein from food and/or already have existing kidney problems.

Weight gain: a “supplement” is just what it sounds like – a source of calories in addition to your regular diet. Regardless of how nutritious your supplement is it has the potential to contribute to weight gain if you do not monitor your total calorie intake. To prevent gaining weight, monitor your eating habits. You will need to cut back on something if you are adding a protein supplement. A high-protein product can even make you gain fat since muscle is built from strength training, not high protein food.

Cost of Supplements versus Food
The price of protein supplements can vary quite a bit making it hard to say whether it’s more or less cost-effective to get protein from supplements versus food. Depending on the food and supplement you are comparing, the cost of one gram of protein from supplements could be more, the same, or less than from food.

Keep the Diet Balanced
The science around eating a balanced diet has been done for you in Healthy Eating with Canada’s Food Guide. One risk of using protein supplements is eating a diet that is too high in one food group and disregarding the importance of nutrients from the others. Make sure to continue to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit.

Keep up the fiber
Although some protein supplements are fortified with dietary fiber, others are not. Lack of dietary fiber can cause issues like constipation, diverticulitis, and related problems. Promote good digestive health by choosing supplements that contain significant amounts of fiber, eat probiotic bacteria, such as yogurt, and keeping whole grains, veggies, and fruit a major part of your diet.

Chicken is a lean source of all necessary amino acids and can be prepared in many ways. A six-ounce chicken breast provides 54 grams of protein. Chicken breasts and thighs have similar protein contents but different flavors due to differences in their fat contents.

Soy protein is a plant-based protein that contains all the essential amino acids. Some studies have found soy protein to be equally as effective in building muscle as whey protein. Common sources of soy protein include tofu, edamame beans, and soy-protein supplements.

Quinoa is an ancient grain famous for its protein content. Unlike most grains, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids — the amino acids that your body cannot make. They are also key for muscle building. Quinoa still contains only eight grams of protein per cup, so it should not be considered a meal’s primary protein source.

Salmon contains slightly less protein per serving than chicken, turkey, or beef, but it is a great source of long-chain omega-3 fats. The protein and fat combination found in salmon makes it ideal for pairing with fibrous vegetables, such as broccoli or asparagus, for a simple, high-protein, carb-controlled meal.

Have a protein and carbohydrate snack 30 minutes after an intense workout. This is a great way to replenish your glycogen stores and helps provide the nutrients your body needs. Most protein supplements contain about 10-12 grams per ½ scoop.

Tasty snack ideas that provide about the same amount of protein as one scoop or 10 – 12 grams (plus other nutrients and flavors!

Have a protein and carbohydrate snack 30 minutes after an intense workout. This is a great way to replenish your glycogen stores and helps provide the nutrients your body needs.

  • A small handful of almonds and piece of fruit
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons granola
  • ¾ cup regular yogurt, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, and ½ cup blackberries
  • 2 rice cakes with 2 tablespoons nut butter
  • 1 hard boiled egg and 2 thin slices of cheese on piece of whole grain toast
  • ½ cup sliced pineapple with ¼ cup cottage cheese
  • ¼ can of tuna, lemon juice and a bit of mayo on 4 plain whole grain crackers
  • 1 cup Shredded Wheat (can add 1 teaspoon sugar for flavor) with ¾ cup cows/soy milk (rice, oat, hemp, coconut and almond milk are low in protein)
  • 40 grams roasted chicken (the size of half a deck of cards) in a small whole grain tortilla wrap with lettuce and mustard
  • 1 package plain instant oats and 1 tablespoon hemp seed (can add 1 tsp sugar for flavor)


Product Claim Evidence
  • Burns fat
  • Protects carbohydrate stores
  • Energizes
  • Does not burn fat
  • Does not protect carbohydrate stores
  • Increases mental alertness
  • Burns fat
  • Does not burn fat
  • Increases lean body mass
  • Increases strength
  • Increases total body and lean mass
  • Increases strength, but is not useful in endurance exercise


Look for a natural health product number (NPN) or a drug identification number (DIN) on products. These numbers certify that the product has been approved in Canada. Beware: being “natural” or approved for sale does not guarantee it is risk-free!


These articles are strictly for informational purposes. Always seek medical and/or nutritional advice before taking any action. All nutrition articles posted on the TFA website have been reviewed and verified by our in-house Registered Dietitian/Licensed Nutritionist. Leah Fakhuri, R.D., L.D.N. This article was sourced from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com.

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