JSU Student Symposium 2022

Does a Protein Rich Diet or a Carbohydrate Rich Diet Yield Greater Sports Performance in Athletes?


Does a Protein Rich Diet or a Carbohydrate Rich Diet Yield Greater Sports Performance in Athletes?



Faculty Mentor

Jennifer Savage, Kinesiology; Chris Clark, Kinesiology


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Submission Type



11:45-11:55am | Houston Cole Library, 11th Floor


Context: Numerous studies have provided guidelines for the appropriate type, amount, and timing of intake of food, fluids, and supplements to promote optimal health and performance across different scenarios of training and competitive sport. The diet of an athlete could affect and influence their sport performance depending on if it is a carbohydrate rich diet or a protein rich diet. This leads us to investigate whether a carbohydrate rich diet or a protein rich diet leads to a greater sport performance in athletes.

Methods: A computerized search was completed in September 2021. The search terms used were “carbohydrate rich diet”, “protein rich diet”, and “optimal nutrition for athletes”. Electronic databases used were Jacksonville State University Library, Medline, and SPORTDiscus. Inclusion criteria: protein based diets or carbohydrate based diets, participants in the protein studies had to be on an animal based protein diet and have an active lifestyle, written in English, and the studies must use human participants. Exclusion criteria: People with a sedentary lifestyle and participants with Celiac Disease. Validity of the selected studies was determined using the Oxford Center of Evidence Based Medicine. One author independently reviewed the studies, scored each paper, and reviewed the completed appraisals to come to a consensus on study quality.

Results: The literature search retrieved 18 studies. Out of these studies, six met inclusion criteria and the level of evidence suggested by the Strength of Recommendation of Taxonomy and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses were used to identify eligible studies. Antonio, Jager et al., Phillips, and Reguant-Closa et al. suggested that protein rich diets can better enhance body composition, gain weight, and optimize sport performance. In addition, the Nutrition and Athletic Performance state strategies to optimize performance and recovery in training and sport performance in special populations. Podlogar and Debevec results found that a high carbohydrate diet produced a lower heart rate, high-rate perceived exertion level, and resulted in the athlete terminating exercise early during a moderate intensity exercise period.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that macronutrients are vital, and carbohydrates and proteins contribute an important role in an athletes’ diet. It is possible to compile a basic diet plan for both endurance and strength athletes. This nutritional plan should consider the athletes personal goals related to their fitness, sport demands, position demands, and current biochemical balance. If an athlete is not fully prepared for competition and is not fueled properly by their diet, the risk of injury could increase. Healthcare providers and dieticians should collaboratively assist athletes to improve patient-centered care and outcomes.


student research, kinesiology


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Does a Protein Rich Diet or a Carbohydrate Rich Diet Yield Greater Sports Performance in Athletes?