by Michelle Cort
Do you need a protein supplement?
We are constantly faced with media messages offering ‘expert’ advice on what we need to add to into our daily meal and snack regime in order to perform, feel or look our best One message that is actively promoted to active men, women and adolescents is the need to consume protein supplements. Walk into any health food store, chemist or supermarket and the range of protein powder, bars and balls is overwhelming.
For optimal muscle function, repair, strength and hormone production, it is essential that we consume quality protein each day. This ‘quality’ protein can be found in a variety of foods, including: poultry, fish, meat, legumes, nuts and dairy. Most Australians are consuming protein in excess of the recommended amounts. However, most people could improve when the protein is consumed.
Timing is the Key: To ensure your muscles are utilising protein for repair and regeneration throughout the day it is important to ensure each main meal has a quality protein component. This also increases the satiety value of the meal (ie: you’ll feel fuller for longer). If you consume the majority of your protein in one meal your body will utilise what it needs at that point, process the remainder as waste or, (if you over consume), covert into body fat.
To Supplement or Not? Protein supplements offer no additional benefit (over ‘real food’ options) for the majority of people. Elite athletes with a targeted training focus may have a detailed strategy for using a specific protein supplements. However, there has been a shift over the past couple of years with more athletes choosing a quality ‘real food’ approach to nutrition over supplements.
Michelle Cort is an Advanced Sports Dietitian who currently works as the Sports Nutrition Manager for Cricket Australia, and is the Sports Performance Dietitian for the Australian Sailing Team. Michelle has worked with several AFL, NRL and Super Rugby Teams over the past 15 years and alongside the Real Madrid Football Team. She’s also spent time in Canberra as part of the AIS Department of Sports Nutrition.