From Swatz Creek, Michigan, USA:
My 16-year-old son, who has had diabetes since he was four, is 6 feet tall and weighs 136 pounds. His A1cs have always been under 7.6. A lot of his friends drink protein shakes and lift weights. My son plays hockey. Because of his diabetes, I don't know if I should let him drink those shakes. He doesn't eat much meat, so his protein levels are not high. He really wants to gain weight or just fill out/gain muscle. He's a picky eater and I am always trying to get him to eat from all the food groups, but he's always been more of a carbohydrate eater his whole life. Is there something he can eat/drink to help him?
Excess protein goes one of two places. It is either stored as fat or secreted out of the body through the kidney. A person with diabetes consuming high amounts of protein may be putting undue stress on the kidney over the long run. Amino acids are building blocks of protein. Some are synthesized in the body and called non-essential amino acids while others are needed in the diet and are called essential amino acids. Since there are 21 of these amino acids, the information on the benefits and risks become very confusing. Many athletes feel protein is the main ingredient needed for strength training. Protein shakes are common supplements used by strength athletes. If used appropriately, they can fit into a healthy sports diet. It is true that athletes who are involved in strength training may need some extra protein but, in reality, they already get enough through their diet. The average person needs 0.8 g protein/kg of body weight/day whereas an athlete may need to consume up to 2 g of protein/kg of body weight/day.
It is not just consuming protein that will add muscle mass and strength. It needs to be combined with strength training. In addition, it is probably more important to have carbohydrates on board rather than protein to give the body energy to perform in the weight room. Carbohydrates are the main fuel used during a single bout of strength training. If weight gain is a goal, consuming large amounts of calories in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, and, yes, fats will help.
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:12
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