Sports Nutrition For Teens


By Ruth Nona Renshaw – Pharmacist, Alive Pharmacy Warehouse

As a mum of a very active and athletic teenager I am very conscious that after training or during an event, she can eat enough to feed an average family! Being from a sporty family my daughter asked if she could use a protein powder that we use. 

Protein powders are fantastic however they do put a load on the kidneys and liver.  Protein powders or an excess of protein creates a positive nitrogen state in the body, this is being in an anabolic state (muscle building).  Your kidneys work very hard to get rid of the excess nitrogen.  A child’s kidneys are nowhere near as efficient or capable of getting rid of excess nitrogen as such protein powders so making sure they consume the correct amount is essential. 

If your child is competing in high intensity sport, it is recommended that the child consumes a daily intake of 1.5 grams of protein for each kg of body weight, If your child is 50kg this would be 75 grams of protein.  We should always look primarily at getting the majority of this from good nutrition, however this is not always possible.

If you decide to put your child on a protein powder look for one that is derived from egg whites or whey.  Make sure it has low sugars (no more than 4 grams per serve).  A protein powder should also contain approx. 20 grams of protein per serve also. 

The protein powder should be taken after sports.  It can also be taken prior to going to sleep and with breakfast.  Never exceed more than 2 serves per day. A smoothie is a perfect way of adding protein to an enjoyable snack.

It is important to remember that protein powders are not meal replacements.  Protein powders are used when it is not possible to get the amount of protein required from a good nutrition program.  So first, ensure your child has a good nutrition plan and is consuming the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats based on their muscle mass and level of activity.

When it comes to supplementation with teenagers and children, we should always look to their diet as the number one source of their nutrition. If a child is not eating or you feel they are lacking in some area of nutrition then good quality vitamin supplements are available for children and teenagers. A doctor should always be consulted if there is an ongoing issue.

Our product pick: Optimum Nutrition – Gold Standard Whey