Protein requirements in male adolescent soccer players

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2007 May;100(1):27-33. doi: 10.1007/s00421-007-0400-4. Epub 2007 Feb 2.


Few investigations have studied protein metabolism in children and adolescent athletes which makes difficult the assessment of daily recommended dietary protein allowances in this population. The problematic in paediatric competitors is the determination of additional protein needs resulting from intensive physical training. The aim of this investigation was to determine protein requirement in 14-year-old male adolescent soccer players. Healthy male adolescent soccer players (N = 11, 13.8 +/- 0.1 year) participated in a short term repeated nitrogen balance study. Diets were designed to provide proteins at three levels: 1.4, 1.2 and 1.0 g protein per kg body weight (BW). Nutrient and energy intakes were assessed from 4 day food records corresponding to 4 day training periods during 3 weeks. Urine was collected during four consecutive days and analysed for nitrogen. The nitrogen balances were calculated from mean daily protein intake, mean urinary nitrogen excretion and estimated faecal and integumental nitrogen losses. Nitrogen balance increased with both protein intake and energy balance. At energy equilibrium, the daily protein intake needed to balance nitrogen losses was 1.04 g kg(-1) day(-1). This corresponds to an estimated average requirement (EAR) for protein of 1.20 g kg(-1) day(-1) and a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 1.40 g kg(-1) day(-1) assuming a daily nitrogen deposition of 11 mg kg(-1). The results of the present study suggest that the protein requirements of 14-year-old male athletes are above the RDA for non-active male adolescents.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Diet
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Eating / physiology
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Soccer / physiology*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Nitrogen