Dietary Protein Recommendations Underestimated?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a daily protein intake of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram bodyweight. Canadian researchers reanalyzed data from the studies used to make the protein recommendations. They concluded that the recommended protein intake should be increased to 0.93 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram bodyweight per day.
Studies of intensely training athletes found that the daily protein requirement could be as high as 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram bodyweight per day. Key amino acids in proteins, such as leucine, are important chemical signalers in addition to their role in forming structural proteins. The protein requirement of athletes has been controversial since the time of the great ancient Olympian Milo of Croton in the 6th century B.C. He consumed large quantities of beef to improve his athletic prowess. Hopefully, modern biochemical techniques will help us solve this problem once and for all. (Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 13: 52-57, 2010)