Do Women Need Protein?

Do women need protein?

In my early morning haze, I try to skim through the NYTimes Online. I usually find something exciting to read and frequent the Top Ten section.

This morning I was intrigued by this article: Phys Ed: What Exercise Science Doesn’t Know About Women

Originally the study was completed on Men. (as with most research)

He asked a group of male cyclists to ride intensely until their legs were aching and virtually all of their stored muscle fuel had been depleted. The cyclists then consumed bars and drinks that contained either mostly carbohydrates or both carbohydrates and protein.

What resulted for the MEN

Dr. Rowlands found that the cyclists showed little benefit during the first interval session. But during the second, the men who ingested protein had an overall performance gain of more than 4 percent, compared with the men who took only carbohydrates.

BUT THE WOMEN wanted to know what that meant for THEM.
So they did the study again….

This time, though, the results were quite different. The women showed no clear benefit from protein during recovery. They couldn’t ride harder or longer.

In fact

the women who received protein said that their legs felt more tired and sore during the intervals than did women who downed only carbohydrates.

It maybe linked to estrogen, and it’s ability to protect the muscles. It think it’s IMPORTANT for research like this to be discussed, cause there’s so much debate about diets not having enough protein in them for women. Arguably protein makes you feel more full, but so does fiber. Perhaps, we as women don’t need to be pounding eggs, meat, egg whites, chicken breasts and grainy protein powder.

In fact, it may just be holding us back.



8 thoughts on “Do Women Need Protein?

  1. Corinne says:

    interesting!! i dont know about protein for performance per se but i do know that protein keeps me full longer which helps ward off unncessary snacking and when taken an hour or so before a workout will keep it so i’m not craving food as soon as i am done. food loaded with protein such as pb, chicken, eggs usually have less other “stuff” like sugar or sodium which are just “fillers”. does the research state what exactly the women ate as their source of protein?

  2. sarah says:

    Very interesting. I think a lot of our need for protein is mental. I tend to want a higher protein diet than a lot of vegans, but I honestly think it has more to do with mental satiety than physical NEED. Our need for protein – both men and women – is definitely much lower than we think, but it’s been the question of the modern era: where do you get your protein? Yet NO ONE in western society is protein deficient, unless they are so poor they are malnourished, deliberately starving themselves, or have a medical condition.

    However, I don’t think the study will make a difference in dispelling the myths. Decades of studies and centuries of societies suggest that we don’t need much protein, but people continue to believe it very strongly. I think a lot of women, particularly in the blogging community, will simply dismiss this study with the idea that they feel so much better if they eat more protein. And that’s fine. But I do personally think it’s interesting. It prompts me to think about the difference between what my brain wants and what my body wants.

    • Mish says:

      I think that living in America…you’re always told that you need heaps of protein (meat) and calcium (dairy). Dairy, if anyone knows about estrogen…which is the protective hormone for women in this study..maintains bone density until after menopause..when it declines and decreases bone density. Thus, continuing to drink milk to maintain bone density after puberty is futile.

      It is interesting though about the mental ‘fullness’ that protein evokes. I am a sucker to is as well.

  3. Miz says:

    SO INTERESTING I think it is indeed part mental and a lot that all of our bodies are so flipping different.
    for the majority of us? LESS PROTEIN IS MORE.

    for this misfit? more is more.

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