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    Protein food for athletes: how are you?

    Bars, Shakes and Co  

    Protein food for athletes: how are you?

    Protein is in. The supermarkets are full of protein products, from drinks to cheese. But what do athletes have from it? Experts advise to study the ingredients well and use the preparations rather sparingly.Because they are not a substitute for real food.

    Athletes need protein, also called protein. It is no wonder then that there are numerous products in the fitness area that promise an additional dose of the precious substance. But is it really necessary?

    More protein, more muscle?

    As a rule, an adult’s protein requirement can be well covered by a well-balanced diet, experts say. Therefore, they see their finished products rather critically: protein can positively influence muscle growth if it is taken shortly before or up to two hours after exercise, explains the German Society for Nutrition (DGE).
    However, only to a degree. “Increasing protein does not bring more muscle,” says nutritionist Silke Restemeyer of the DGE. A targeted and intensive training is more effective.
    Other experts are basically the same: Bars or drinks do not provide a special protein composition that does not provide food, says Hans Braun from the Department of Sports Nutrition at the Institute of Biochemistry at the German Sport University Cologne.

    And yet the preparations have their uses

    “Protein products are not necessary, but they save a lot of time,” says Günter Wagner from the German Institute of Sports Nutrition. Also for nutritionist and personal trainer Nino ruler the finished products are rather an emergency solution.
    “In general, the list of ingredients should be as short as possible and the sugar content should not be too high,” advises personal trainer and nutritionist Tobias Süß. In addition to animal or vegetable protein are usually thickeners, flavors and possibly sweeteners included.
    Braun suggests distributing the protein amounts to four to five smaller portions of 20 grams each. “If you know you can not eat so fast immediately after an intense workout, a shake can help.”
    Anyone who wants to lose weight and is doing sports for that very reason may not be able to fully cover their protein intake through their diet. Here, a preparation can also be helpful, says Braun. “Real food is always preferred, but for once, you can replace a meal with a drink,” says Süß.

    Beware of pre-existing conditions

    People with pre-existing conditions such as kidney or liver damage should talk to their doctor before handling protein products. Because then the normal diet plays an important role, explains Süß: If it is already very protein-rich anyway, further additions can unnecessarily burden. And diabetics need to be aware that they are taking in extra carbohydrates with a protein drink or bar.


    Those who do sports want to keep fit, improve their performance – and sometimes keep their weight under control. Even if amateur athletes do not set new world records, they should focus on proper nutrition . After all, if your body is optimally supplied with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, your body will do more.
    The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends for recreational athletes a carbohydrate-stressed diet with a high nutrient intake from fruits and vegetables. Fats should be at a maximum of 30 percent of the total energy intake. That these recommendations are not so difficult to achieve in everyday life, knows the Munich internist, sports physician and Olympic doctor. Karlheinz Zeilberger: “Basically, you are already doing everything right with a normal, well-balanced diet.” It’s important for athletes to increase the amount of drink they drink – at least half a liter a day, depending on the sport. ” However, heart or kidney patients follow the instructions given by their doctor when it comes to drinking.

    Varied and full food

    With regular exercise, the body needs more vitamins and minerals . With vitamins, athletes are best served with daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. Potassium, magnesium and calcium are lost through sweat , but also iodide and iron, Attention: Untrained people usually lose more electrolytes than trained people. “But everyone sweats differently,” says Zeilberger. “In some, the sweat is particularly salty and you should be careful to keep your mineral stores always well-filled.” The right diet is also important here. If the doctor detects a deficiency of one of the above-mentioned remedies, appropriate supplements from the pharmacy can help, if necessary, to remedy the deficit.

    Meaningful drinks

    Already without physical activity, a healthy adult should drink at least 1.5 to two liters daily. That’s not enough, though, if you sweat while doing sports. A 70 kilo runner loses about 1.4 liters in one hour. So fill up your liquid storage before sport. If you are exercising for more than one hour, drink smaller amounts every 15 to 20 minutes. “140 to 250 milliliters are ideal,” says Zeilberger. For healthy athletes, sodium-rich, still mineral waters (at least 200 milligrams of sodiumper liter) or juice spritzers with one third juice content. “I recommend apple or currant juice, they are very electrolyte-rich.” The drinks should not be too cold and contain as little sugar and carbon dioxide as possible. The fluid balance should be balanced again for a maximum of two hours after exercise.
    Incidentally, isotonic drinks for recreational athletes, which should correspond in their sugar and mineral content of the composition of the blood, according to DGE these requirements do not always meet and may contain too little carbohydrates or sodium. For high-performance athletes, isotonic drinks are ideal for quickly compensating water and energy losses. For the recreational athlete, they offer no advantage. Fruit juices diluted with mineral water, ie spritzers, are an adequate substitute here.

    Valuable carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates in the form of glucose serve the working musculature as the most important source of energy. Doctors recommend taking the last high-carbohydrate and low-fat main meal about two to three hours before exercise. “After eating, the body needs more blood for digestion for two hours, and this blood is missing to supply the muscles,” explains Zeilberger. If the food is too fat, it lasts longer in the stomach and causes heartburn when exerted, Depending on the sport healthy carbohydrates should account for 50 to 60 percent of the diet, especially in endurance athletes, says also graduate sports scientist and triathlon coach Thomas Hildebrandt-Strobl. If the workout lasts longer than 90 minutes, you should provide your body with quickly available energy, for example, through drinks in between.

    Food after training

    After one hour of exercise, two-thirds of the glycogen stores are depleted and should be replenished. Studies have shown that in the first one to two hours after exercise, a lot of glycogen is incorporated into the muscles. A meal of easily digestible carbohydrates, some protein and low fat is the best. Ideal dishes are, for example, baked potatoes with quark, vegetable gratin or even sweet pastries.

    Dietary supplements: yes or no?

    Germany’s amateur athletes spend several hundred million euros a year on supplements. The benefits, however, have not been proven. “Mostly, these drugs are neither useful nor performance enhancing – unless there is a proven deficiency,” says Dr. Karlheinz Zeilberger. Vitamin deficiencies are very rare. Magnesium deficiency occurs more often in athletes. Here after consultation with the doctor may also be appropriate preparations appropriate.

    Protein and muscle building

    Muscles consist mainly of protein. That muscle mass is built up faster by an increased protein intake, but is a fallacy. “It is true that during training more egg-producing and degrading processes take place,” says sports scientist Thomas Hildebrandt-Strobl. But supporting this with an extra steak is meant to be short. “As an individual food, the steak is indeed valuable, but it is even better to offer the muscles meaningful protein combinations.” For example, a meal made from 65 percent potatoes and 35 percent egg can be better utilized by the body than the same amount of beef. Legumes and cereals also provide valuable vegetable protein.
    Basically athletes do not have to worry that they consume too little protein. In any case, the intake of protein in Germany is often above the recommendation of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. “Therefore, strength athletes should put less emphasis on protein intake and more on a sufficient and healthy carbohydrate intake,” said Zeilberger.

    Doing sports and losing weight

    Many people do sports to lose weight. For them, some other rules apply. Basically, you should be aware that one hour of sport burns only 200 to 800 kilocalories, depending on the type and intensity. “Do not eat much more because you’re doing sports,” advises Zeilberger. If you want to control your weight, you should watch out for snacks. The long-touted five meals a day are not necessarily recommended for weight loss. You lose a quicker overview of the calories consumed than with three meals.
    The recommended high-carbohydrate diet is synonymous with smears. “Carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread and fruit stimulate insulin secretion – and insulin inhibits fat loss also get quickly hungry again as soon as the blood sugar level falls to.. Losing weightIt is therefore better if you eat protein-rich food such as cottage cheese or pudding before exercising. “This lessens the insulin secretion,” explains Zeilberger. Even after exercise, weight loss takers should not consume readily available carbohydrates. “To use the afterburning effect of the muscles better,” says the sports physician. “If the muscles do not get carbohydrates, they mainly use the fat metabolism.” It is therefore best to lose weight for one to two hours after exercising and only to drink liquids and electrolytes.

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