Protein requirements and recommendations for athletes: relevance of ivory tower arguments for practical recommendations

Clin Sports Med. 2007 Jan;26(1):17-36. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2006.11.003.


Protein nutrition for athletes has long been a topic of interest. From the legendary Greek wrestler Milo--purported to eat copious amounts of beef during his five successive Olympic titles--to modern athletes consuming huge amounts of supplements, protein intake has been considered paramount. Recommendations for protein intake for athletes has not been without controversy, however. In general, scientific opinion on this controversy seems to divide itself into two camps--those who believe participation in exercise and sport increases the nutritional requirement for protein and those who believe protein requirements for athletes and exercising individuals are no different from the requirements for sedentary individuals. There seems to be evidence for both arguments. Although this issue may be scientifically relevant, from a practical perspective, the requirement for protein-as most often defined-may not be applicable to most athletes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Research Design / standards
  • Sports / physiology*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins