New international guidelines for protein intake in track and field athletes have been set by a sports scientist at the University of Stirling.
The findings of the paper form part of the updated International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) consensus statement on Sports Nutrition for Track and Field Athletes. Dr Oliver Witard, from Stirling's Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, led the protein theme of the statement alongside experts at the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sport, and McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.
Explaining the findings, Dr Witard, of the Physiology, Exercise and Nutrition Research Group at Stirling, said: "Track and field athletes engage in vigorous training that place stress on physiological systems requiring nutritional support for optimal recovery. In this paper, we highlight the benefits of dietary protein intake for training adaptation, manipulating body composition and optimising performance in track and field athletes.
The paper also offers guidance to those track and field athletes aiming to optimise their ratio of strength, power or endurance to body weight for a performance advantage.
The previous IAAF consensus statement was published in 2007 and, in the time since, evidence underpinning nutrition strategies for adaptation and physique manipulation in athletes has evolved considerably. The updated statement was led by Professor Louise M Burke, of the Australian Institute of Sport and Australian Catholic University.
Dr Witard added: "High-performance athletes now have access to an up-to-date consensus statement that informs best practice protein nutrition for optimising body composition."