LESSON 20

Do Athletes Need More Protein?

There is a long held belief that athletes need more protein than an average person. This would be true and would be scientifically supported only if athletes had a different digestive system and physiology than an average person.

True, athletes spend more calories than average people. Do athletes therefore need more protein? Or do they simply need more calories? If they spend more calories, we are talking about calories here, not proteins, then they also need more calories.

All the answers are in nature, so let’s find the answers to this topic as well. Let’s take two horses for example. Horses are extremely strong and muscular animals that choose grass as their food according to their anatomy and physiology. Now, let’s add another element to this picture: one of these two horses spends most of its time resting, while the other spends most of its time training for horse races. Would it be appropriate and responsible to feed the racing horse with some additional food that is protein rich, perhaps even with animal proteins? Remember, the optimal food for horses is grass. What do you think, how would adding some dead animals, a high protein food, to this horse’s diet, affect this horse health-wise?

It is true that the racing horse spends more calories than the horse who is not racing. So, their diets will differ… quantitatively, not qualitatively.

The same goes for every species.

This romantic myth that proteins build muscles can be finally left behind the sane thinking, because if that was true, then the standard diet alone would result in strong and muscular people.

Muscle fibers are torn apart during exercising and built during resting provided sufficient calorie intake.

And of course, we cannot make a human body accept more proteins than it was designed for. The liver takes up as much protein as it is appropriate for the human body, and uses the rest to make urea that the body expels out through kidneys. The constant filtration of proteins through kidneys weakens the kidneys over time and thus the kidney cells, nephrons, lose their function.

In conclusion, athletic performance indeed requires some dietary adjustments, but in terms of quantity, not the content.

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