Let's have a scenario discussion to learn about correct protein intake!

1) Scenario:

The client weighs 65.80 kgs and participates in competitive golf about 20 hours a week and practicing about 5-6 hours a day when not in tournament play.  Golf is considered a low/moderate intensity exercise as most of the time is spent below 50% VO2max (1).  Based on the current protein recommendation range for athletes of 1 to 1.5g/kg, Ned should consume approximately 65.8 to 98.7g of protein per day (2,3).  It is recommended that older individuals intake slightly higher levels of protein, up to 2 g/kg.  This is important to keep in mind as Ned continues to participate in golf especially if he has plans to compete on the Champions tour.

2)    Consider the same individual- what would your recommendations change based on the following situations:

a)  the athlete is a vegan

Vegan athletes can consume their dietary protein needs by consuming a variety of plant based proteins.  These athletes may benefit from creatine supplementation to maintain proper levels of muscle creatine as vegans and vegetarians tend toward lower muscle creatine levels.   Since plant proteins are not completely digested it is recommended that vegans and vegetarians consume 10% more protein in their diets (4).

b) the athlete is in a 500-1000 Calorie per day deficit

Athletes in a caloric deficit should ensure that their dietary protein is of good quality such as dairy protein, eggs, and lean meats.  Since the intake of protein will tend toward lower end of the recommended range (65.8 to 98.7 g) so as not to displace appropriate carbohydrate intake, these athletes must make sure that they are consuming high quality proteins (3).

3)    How would you explain to a strength/power athlete consuming 3 g/Kg of protein per day in a eucaloric state that protein intake of that level does not lead to optimal performance?

I would first point out that higher levels of one macronutrient often mean lower levels of another unless the goal is weight gain. I would also think that making this athlete aware that approximately 1g to 1.5g of calcium is lost for every gram of protein consumed over the normal levels of intake and that protein in comparison to carbohydrates requires seven times the amount of water for a healthy metabolism (5).

Especially for the power and strength athlete, this athlete definitely must also keep in mind that maintaining glycogen stores must be considered at all times (5). If the increase in protein consumption were to interfere with carbohydrate consumption then it is obvious that performance would be affected (3). It would also be worth mentioning to this athlete that too much protein can cause more serious health problems as well with this prolonged practice such as hyperaminoacidemia, hyperammonemia, hyperinsulinemia, nausea, and diarrhea (6).


1.    Dotson C and Iso-Ahola S. Walking vs. riding and performance among professional golfers. Int Sport J. 2003;7:100-110.
2.    Kreider RB, Wilborn CD, Taylor L, Campbell B, et al. ISSN exercise and sport nutrition review: research and recommendations. J Int Soc Sport Nutr. 2010; 7: 1-44.
3.    Phillips SM, Moore DR, and Tang JE. A critical examination of dietary protein requirements, benefits, and excesses in athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Ex Metab. 2007; 17: 58-76.
4.    Venderley AM and Campbell WW. Vegetarian diets: nutritional considerations for athletes. Sport Med. 2006; 36: 293-305.
5.    Clark, Micheal, Corn Rodney, and Parracino Lenny. Integrated Program Design for the Personal Trainer. Calabasas, California: National Academy of Sports Medicine, 2000.
6.    Bilsborough, Shane, and Neil Mann. "A Review of Issues of Dietary Protein Intake in Humans." International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 16.2 (2006): 129-153.