Can a high-protein diet help me build muscle?

High-protein diets can help athletes build muscle depending on the type of protein consumed and the type of exercise being performed. The USDA recommends individuals get .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. Athletes involved in heavy strength training, bodybuilding, or power sports, such as football, can safely consume up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day if they have normal kidney function. Lean animal meat, dairy products, and eggs are the best source of complete proteins; complete proteins have all of the essential amino acids required for muscle function.

Vegetarians will have a more difficult time maintaining a high-protein diet because plant proteins often lack certain amino acids. A higher variety of proteins becomes more important to ensure complete amino acid absorption. It is important to remember that if you are increasing your protein intake, you should also increase your fluid intake (hydration) to help your kidneys process the extra protein.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Appalachian State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

Continue Learning about Protein

Hidden Dangers of Protein Powders
Hidden Dangers of Protein Powders
People seem to love to use powders (and pills)—even when they’re downright dangerous. Think of Lance Armstrong taking erythropoietin to boost his red ...
Read More
If I workout, do I need to supplement with a protein powder?
Catherine HollyCatherine Holly
Whether or not you need a protein powder for a workout depends on how long you are exercising. For a...
More Answers
How can I keep my C-reactive protein (CRP) level normal?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
C-reactive protein, a substance released by the body in response to injury, is a marker of infla...
More Answers
To Improve Insulin Sensitivity, Reach for Lean Protein
To Improve Insulin Sensitivity, Reach for Lean Protein

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.