Physical Performance

Dietary protein contributes to the synthesis and maintenance of muscle tissue, and directly influences muscle mass, strength and function in people of all ages. Skeletal muscle protein synthesis is optimized by consuming dietary protein and by considering three important criteria:

  • Protein Quality: High-quality proteins, like eggs, dairy products, chicken, beef, fish and pork, contain all nine essential amino acids necessary for muscle protein synthesis and repair. (1)
  • Protein Quantity: Post-workout protein is important for promoting recovery. Research indicates that eating 20-30 grams of protein sources rich in leucine, such as egg or whey, has been shown to promote muscle repair and glycogen resynthesis.
  • Timing of Protein Intake: For individuals who are aiming to lose excess body weight or maintain a healthy weight, eating protein at breakfast can help satisfy the appetite and reduce calorie intake for the rest of the day. (2) Also, consuming high-quality protein in combination with rapidly digestible sources of carbohydrate post-workouts can help refuel muscles and optimize recovery. (3)

For a full list of recent ENC-funded research on eggs and physical performance, please visit

  1. Campbell B et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sport Nutr. 2007;4:8
  2. Leidy HJ et al. The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011;19:818-24.
  3. Kerksick CM et al. Factors that contribute to and account for strength and work capacity in a large cohort of recreationally trained adult healthy men with high- and low-strength levels. J Strength Cond Res. 2014;28:1246-54.

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Do Elite Athletes Eat Red Rope Licorice?

Lap Pool

Based on a completely unofficial and unscientific poll, I estimate that 25% of nutrition professionals pursued the field because of their experiences in childhood sports.  And if anything, I think this is an underestimate.  Most athletes learn the importance of making smart food choices before practice and competition, and then a subset parlay this knowledge into a passion for food science, nutrition, and dietetics.

Continue reading “Do Elite Athletes Eat Red Rope Licorice?”

Do you need a protein supplement to build muscle?

Weights

Featured article in the Spring 2016 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Pamela Hernandez, CPT

There is always a desire to find the answer to our health and wellness concerns in a pill. According to Forbes magazine, the nutritional supplement industry produces revenue of approximately $32 billion annually.1  The broad definition of the term “supplement” includes everything from your basic daily multivitamin to the vast selection of protein shakes and weight loss pills advertised in fitness magazines.  Continue reading “Do you need a protein supplement to build muscle?”

Muscle quality: what does it mean to your health?

Featured article in the Winter 2016 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Christian Wright, Doctoral Student, Purdue University

“Bigger is better” for most Americans when it comes to skeletal muscle. One only needs to look at the latest cover of health magazines for headlines such as “build muscle fast” and “supersize your legs” to know this to be true. After all, a larger muscle is generally a stronger muscle, which is important for overall health. In fact, muscular strength is often used as a surrogate for one’s physical health as it is independently associated with not only mobility, but also the development of chronic disease.

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Underfueling: are we taking weight loss too far?

Featured article in the Fall 2015 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Pamela Hernandez, CPT

The Female Athlete Triad is most often associated with high school or collegiate athletes, but its symptoms can affect women of any age who engage in high levels of physical activity and eat a very low-calorie diet in an attempt to lose weight.  Continue reading “Underfueling: are we taking weight loss too far?”