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If I'm lifting weights, should I increase my protein intake? — Sabrina, NY

Anne Coulston


It's exercise, not food intake that builds muscle. Your body uses additional protein to build muscle during resistance training such as weight lifting, but whether you need to increase your protein intake depends on your current diet. Most Americans eat 50 to 100% more protein than what's required for health or recommended by the RDA.

What's enough? Make sure you eat two servings of protein a day (check the Food Pyramid to see what makes a serving). Protein-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, eggs and dairy soy products. This, plus two 8-ounce glasses of low-fat (1%) or nonfat milk should provide enough protein/amino acids to make the new muscle proteins stimulated by your weight training.
For nutrition recommendations for active adults, visit the American Dietetic Association—one of FoodFit's Resource Associations.

About Anne Coulston

Ann M. Coulston, M.S.,R.D., graduated from Cornell University with a master's degree in nutritional science and is a former research dietitian at Stanford University Medical Center, and a past president of both the American Dietetic Association (1998-1999) and the California Dietetic Association. Ann specializes in clinical research on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and collaborates with medical scientists in research on diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

She has been recognized for excellence in the practice of research and clinical nutrition by the American Dietetic Association Foundation, and is the recipient of the American Dietetic Association's Medallion award for leadership. The California Dietetic Association has awarded her the Distinguished Service and Outstanding Member awards.

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