High Protein Diet for Baseball Pitchers?

What is a high protein diet for baseball pitchers or players? And is it safe, or necessary? Many players, athletes, and bodybuilders believe they need excessive amounts of protein to supplement and rebuild their muscles.

Many of these individuals consume as many as three grams of protein per pound of body weight. However, there is no scientifically proven evidence that this type of protein consumption is beneficial for sports endurance, muscle strength, or muscle recovery.

According to Clyde Williams, a professor of sport and exercise science,

in a well-balanced diet an athlete’s energy is derived from at least 50% carbohydrates, 35% from fats, and only 12-15% from protein. What this concludes, is that an athletes diet must consists of relatively high levels of carbohydrates, not high levels of protein.

In addition, there is further evidence showing that athletes only need slightly more protein than the average person.

The average person’s daily intake should be around one gram per kilogram of body weight, but an athlete’s consumption should be around 1.5 g per kg of body weight. As you can see, there isn’t much differential between the two, but many baseball players still continue to consume way more protein than necessary. This dieting methods may not only be unnecessary, but it may also be dangerous for your health.

Popular High Protein Diets for Baseball

One of the most popular high protein diets is the Atkins Diet. This type of diet is sometimes also labeled as zone diet, the south beach diet, meat-mania, and proteinopia (AskMen).

High protein diets require consuming high levels of protein, and significantly reducing the consumption of carbohydrates. This program has proved to be beneficial for people trying to lose weight, but it is not recommended for strength training baseball pitchers or players.

The issue that occurs with a diet similar to the Atkins, is that carbohydrates are the main fuel source for endurance athletes. Without consuming the proper amount of carbohydrates, a baseball player will witness earlier signs of fatigue during exercise, practice, or games.

Fatigue occurs because muscle contractions that occur during weightlifting or explosive movements, are fueled by the body’s source of carbohydrates. In addition to decreased performance in both weight room and out on the field, high protein diets may also have some legitimate dangers for your health.

Some possible dangers include kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, irritability, crankiness, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, bad breath, and constipation.

With all of this evidence baseball players must recognize that high protein diets are not a recommended method. Athletes need carbohydrates for fuel, power, and explosion. Both fuel sources must be consumed, but do not waste your time and effort trying to consume excessive amounts of protein.

For a baseball player weighing around 200 pounds, he would only need to consume around 145 grams of protein a day to build muscle and produce strength.

Here is a baseball nutrition split that players can follow:

  • Daily calories from carbohydrates: 55-65%
  • Daily calories from fat: 25-30%
  • Daily calories from protein: 12-15%

To learn more about proper protein supplementation, go to our Protein for Baseball article.

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