Risk of consumption of inadequate amounts of proteins

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 15.05.2018

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Many athletes, although they concentrate their attention on proteins, but some of them consume proteins in insufficient quantities. This problem exists for athletes who train for endurance, for example, runners. These athletes focus their attention not on building muscle mass, but on consuming excess calories and increasing body weight. The most common North American diets, which are sources of protein, often contain many fats that can be replaced with carbohydrates. An inadequate protein can put an athlete in front of the risk of reducing muscle mass. Inadequate intake of it means a lack of amino acids for tissue repair and synthesis and threatens the athlete with injuries. Chronic fatigue in these athletes also indicates weakness of the muscles.

Triad of female athletes

The triad of female athletes is characterized, first of all, by inadequate consumption of calories with the subsequent violation of the menstrual cycle (amenorrhea) and, finally, with osteoporosis. It is suggested that inadequate protein intake may be associated with the onset of amenorrhea. It is shown that a violation of the normal menstrual cycle and a lack of estrogens lead to inadequate accumulation of calcium and, consequently, to bone defects, including fractures and osteoporosis.

Clark et al. Determined that amenorrheic female runners consume 300-500 calories per day less than female athletes with a normal menstrual cycle. Helson et al. Showed that 82% of amenorrheic women had less protein intake than RDN, and only 35% of women with normal menstrual cycles had protein intake lower than RDN. The intake of calcium in these two groups did not differ. It is shown that the diets of athletes involved in running, dancing and gymnastics are not adequate for many nutrients, including the total number of calories and proteins. The relationship between the amount of protein and menstrual function is not yet clear, but there is a risk of amenorrhea for athletes with a lack of protein in food. It is also interesting to know whether the quality of protein relates to the risk of amenorrhea or not.

An approximate menu showing the intake of proteins from food

  • Vegetarians: protein quality

Protein utilization is more effective at high quality. FAO / WHO uses egg protein as the standard against which the quality of other proteins is compared.

A diet without products of animal origin calls into question the synthesis of all amino acids. The less animal protein in the athlete's diet, the greater the amount of plant protein needed to meet the needs for amino acids. The exception is soy products. To assess the quality of the FAO / WHO protein, an "amino acid estimate" is used, as an alternative to the older method, the protein efficiency factor (CAB). As an evaluation, hydrolysates and soy protein concentrates equivalent to animal proteins in the ability to meet the long-term needs of children in amino acids are used.

Vegetarians who include dairy products, eggs and soy products in their diets should not have difficulty meeting their needs for amino acids and common proteins.

  • Women who care about body weight

Many women consume an inadequate amount of protein to reduce the intake of calories. The utilization of proteins decreases as the energy level falls below its costs.

  • Pregnant women

During pregnancy, the need for protein rises. Pregnant women need about 60 grams of protein per day, compared with 45 grams per day for RDN for non-pregnant women. Studies related to exercise during pregnancy are relatively recent. Many athletes train during the entire pregnancy. The intensity and duration of the load, as well as its effect on pregnancy, depend on many factors, including the level of physical fitness of the woman. A training program for a pregnant woman should be discussed with her physician. The need for proteins for a trained pregnant woman is not established. Safe recommendations are in the range of 1.0-1.4 g-kg body weight.

  • Older people

The utilization of protein changes with age. As people become less active with age, their needs in proteins require further study.

  • Diabetes

Diabetic patients are recommended not to exceed the RDN for proteins. Diabetes patients who are trained should meet their increased protein needs until there are problems with the kidneys and consult their physician on a regular basis.

trusted-source[1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7]

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