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The role and protein needs of young athletes

The role and protein needs of young athletes.

Protein is a nutrient, which can be used for energy purposes, when the supply of two basic energy-supplying substrates, i.e.. carbohydrates and fats is inadequate. This is an unfavorable phenomenon, especially in the case of the young, growing people, because proteins play a primarily building role in the body and cannot be replaced with other dietary components. In addition, proteins, which are part of a number of enzymes and some hormones, also play a regulatory role in the body. The human body is unable to store protein, therefore, this ingredient should be supplied in the diet on a regular basis.

Although protein is one of the best known nutrients, there is still much controversy about the daily intake of this nutrient by athletes. Current standards for daily protein intake fluctuate, from 1,2-1,7 g / kg body weight, depending on the sports discipline practiced (table 8.2), the case of the young, As athletes grow, the need for this nutrient may increase to 2,0 g / kg body weight.

Table 8.2. Daily protein requirements (by Lemon, 1994 and Johnson, 2000).

The greater demand for protein in young athletes necessitates a greater supply of this nutrient in the diet. The main sources of animal protein in our food are: meat and its products, poultry, fishes, haha, milk, cheeses and milk drinks, vegetable and legumes. Proteins of animal origin are characterized by a higher biological value than plant proteins, because they contain a full set of exogenous amino acids, that is, those that the human body is unable to produce, and which are necessary for the proper synthesis of proteins in our body. Therefore, animal protein should dominate the diet of young people, which it should constitute 2/3, and not less than 1/2 total protein supply. Among the products that provide animal protein, particular attention should be paid to the frequent inclusion of fish, especially marine, which should be eaten 3-4 times a week.

Please note, that foods that are good sources of protein often contain too much fat. Table 8.3 illustrates how important it is to know the fat content of protein products, which also largely affects the overall caloric value of food. Regarding the fact, that the diet of adolescents practicing sports should contain relatively large amounts of protein and at the same time little fat, it should primarily include lean types of meat, cold meats and milk and dairy products. As for the culinary techniques, these are the most recommended, that do not add extra fat to the food, that is, cooked dishes, baked in foil without pre-frying and stewed in vegetables, fried foods are the least preferred (especially in breadcrumbs).

Table 8.3. Food products and protein dishes that provide different amounts of fat depending on the type of product and the culinary technique used.

Research shows, that the vast majority of players meet their protein needs, even if it concerns the young, growing athletes, where, as mentioned, the norm for this nutrient is the highest (2,0 g/kg m.c.). Here are some examples: assuming that the energy demand of a competitor of endurance and strength disciplines with body weight 80 kg is 4500 kcal, and the percentage of protein in the diet is recommended 12-15% (i.e.. 135-169 g), is the amount of protein per kilogram of body weight he has from 1,7-2,1 g / kg body weight. The same applies to endurance disciplines, if e.g.. the energy demand of the weighing competitor 70 kg is 4200 kcal, it is with the correct proportion of protein in the diet (12-15%) diet supplies from 126-157 g of this component, and that means supply from 1,8-2,2 g of protein for every kilogram of body weight. So with a properly balanced diet and proper selection of natural protein products, there is no need to support the diet of athletes with protein supplements.. Him a young athlete, if the trainer will decide to support the diet with protein, he should first estimate the daily consumption of this ingredient in the food. The negative consequences of consuming excessive amounts of protein should also not be forgotten, the most important of which are the acidifying effect of this component on the body as well as overload of the liver and kidneys due to increased protein metabolism.