European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 100, Issue 1, pp 27–33 | Cite as

Protein requirements in male adolescent soccer players

  • N. BoisseauEmail author
  • M. Vermorel
  • M. Rance
  • P. Duché
  • P. Patureau-Mirand
Original Article


Few investigations have studied protein metabolism in children and adolescent athletes which makes difficult the assessment of daily recommended dietary protein allowances in this population. The problematic in paediatric competitors is the determination of additional protein needs resulting from intensive physical training. The aim of this investigation was to determine protein requirement in 14-year-old male adolescent soccer players. Healthy male adolescent soccer players (N = 11, 13.8 ± 0.1 year) participated in a short term repeated nitrogen balance study. Diets were designed to provide proteins at three levels: 1.4, 1.2 and 1.0 g protein per kg body weight (BW). Nutrient and energy intakes were assessed from 4 day food records corresponding to 4 day training periods during 3 weeks. Urine was collected during four consecutive days and analysed for nitrogen. The nitrogen balances were calculated from mean daily protein intake, mean urinary nitrogen excretion and estimated faecal and integumental nitrogen losses. Nitrogen balance increased with both protein intake and energy balance. At energy equilibrium, the daily protein intake needed to balance nitrogen losses was 1.04 g kg−1 day−1. This corresponds to an estimated average requirement (EAR) for protein of 1.20 g kg−1 day−1 and a recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 1.40 g kg−1 day−1 assuming a daily nitrogen deposition of 11 mg kg−1. The results of the present study suggest that the protein requirements of 14-year-old male athletes are above the RDA for non-active male adolescents.


Protein allowances Adolescent athletes Growth Nutrition 



The authors wish to thank Bernard Grunwald, Manager and Francis Desmettre, Assistant Manager at the Vichy Sport Center for their warm welcome, Madam Curtil for the logistic of the study, Aurélie Bodin, dietician, the cooks and the nurse for their very professional help and their kindness and, above all, the volunteers and their coach, Alain Ollier, for their patience, time and effort.


  1. Beaufrère B, Briend A, Ghisolfi J, Goulet O, Putet G, Rieu D, Turck D, Vidailhet M, Vermorel M (2001) Infants, children and adolescents. In: Martin (ed) Nutritional requirements for the French population. Tec & Doc, Paris, pp. 255–291Google Scholar
  2. Boisseau N, Le Creff C, Loyens MP, Poortmans JR (2002) Protein intake and nitrogen balance in male non-active adolescents and soccer players. Eur J Appl Physiol 88:288–293PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boisseau N, Persaud C, Jackson A, Poortmans JR (2005) Exercise does not affect protein metabolism in preadolescent female gymnasts. Eur J Appl Physiol 94:262–267PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bolster DR, Pikosky MA, McCarthy LM, Rodriguez RN (2001) Exercise affects protein utilization in healthy children. J Nutr 131:2659–2663PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bratteby LE, Sandhagen B, Fan H, Samuelson G (1997) A 7-day activity diary for assessment of daily energy expenditure validated by the doubly labelled water method in adolescents. Eur J Clin Nutr 51:585–591PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bratteby LE, Sandhagen B, Fan H, Enghardt H, Samuelson G (1998) Total energy expenditure and physical activity as assessed by the doubly labeled water method in Swedish adolescents in whom energy intake was underestimated by 7-d diet records. Am J Clin Nutr 67:905–911PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Butterfield GE, Calloway DW (1984) Physical activity improves protein utilization in young men. Br J Nutr 51:171–184PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Castiglia-Delavaud C, Verdier E, Besle JM, Vernet J, Boirie Y, Beaufrère B, De Baynast R, Vermorel M (1998) Net energy value of non-starch polysaccharide isolates (sugar beet fibre and commercial inulin) and their impact on nutrient digestive utilization in healthy human subjects. Br J Nutr 80:343–352PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Consolazio CF, Nelson RA, Matoush LO, Harding RS, Canham JE (1963) Nitrogen excretion in sweat and its relation to nitrogen balance requirements. J Nutr 79:399–406PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Consolazio CF, Johnson HL, Nelson RA, Dramise JG, Skala JH (1975) Protein metabolism during intensive physical training in the young adult. Am J Clin Nutr 28:29–35PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Dewey KG, Beaton G, Fjeld C, Lonnerdal B, Reeds P (1996) Protein requirements of infants and children. Eur J Clin Nutr 50(Suppl 1):S119–S150PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. DRI (2005) Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids (macronutrients). The National Academy Press, Washington D.C., p 1331Google Scholar
  13. Durnin JV, Rahaman MM (1967) The assessment of the amount of fat in the human body from measurements of skinfold thickness. Br J Nutr 21:681–689PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. FAO/OMS/UNU (1986) Nutritional and protein requirements. In: FAO/OMS/UNU experts report, no. 724. Genève, OMS, p 226Google Scholar
  15. Gaine PC, Pikosky MA, Martin WF, Bolster DR, Maresh CM, Rodriguez NR (2006) Level of dietary protein impacts whole body protein turnover in trained males at rest. Metabolism 55:501–507PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gattas VG, Barrerra A, Riumallo JS, Uauy R (1992) Protein-energy requirements of boys 12–14 y old determined using the nitrogen-balance response to a mixed-protein diet. Am J Clin Nutr 56:499–503PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Howat PM, Korslund MK, Abernathy RP, Ritchey SJ (1975) Sweat nitrogen losses by and nitrogen balance of preadolescent girls consuming three levels of dietary protein. Am J Clin Nutr 28:879–882PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Lemon P (1994) Protein requirements of soccer. J Sport Sci 12: S17–S22Google Scholar
  19. Martin A (2001) Nutritional requirements for the French population. In: CNERMA Lavoisier, Paris, p 604Google Scholar
  20. National Research Council Food and Nutrition Board (1989) Commission on life sciences recommended daily allowances (RDA), 10th edn. The National Academy Press, Washington DC, pp 24–29Google Scholar
  21. Ollier F, Duché P, Vermorel M (2006) Dietary intakes and energy expenditures in high-level adolescent soccer players: comparison of dietary intake measurements. Cah Nutr Diét 41:1–9Google Scholar
  22. Pikosky M, Faigenbaum A, Westcott W, Rodriguez N (2002) Effects of resistance training on protein utilization in healthy children. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34: 820–827PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Poortmans J (2004) Protein metabolism. In: Principles of exercise biochemistry, 3rd revised edn. Karger, NY, pp 227–278Google Scholar
  24. Rand WM, Pellett PL, Young VR (2003) Meta-analysis of nitrogen balance studies for estimating protein requirements in healthy adults. Am J Clin Nutr 77:109–127PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Ribeyre JN, Fellmann N, Vernet J, Delaitre M, Chamoux A, Coudert J, Vermorel M (2000) Components and variations in daily energy expenditure of athletic and non-athletic adolescents in free-living conditions. Br J Nutr 84:531–539PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Scrimshaw NS (1996) Criteria for valid nitrogen balance measurement of protein requirements. Eur J Clin Nutr 50 Suppl 1:S196–S197PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Sinaud S, Montaunier C, Wils D, Vernet J, Brandolini M, Bouteloup-Demange C, Vermorel M (2002) Net energy value of two low-digestible carbohydrates, Lycasin HBC and the hydrogenated polysaccharide fraction of Lycasin HBC in healthy human subjects and their impact on nutrient digestive utilization. Br J Nutr 87:131–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Torun B, Davies PSW, Livingstone MBE, Paolisso M, Sackett R, Spurr GB (1996) Energy requirements and dietary energy recommendations for children and adolescents 1 to 18 yrs old. Eur J Clin Nutr 50(suppl):S37–S81PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Vermorel M (2004) Measurements of energy intakes and energy expenditures in children and adolescents of high-level of training. Cah Nutr Diét 39:33–40Google Scholar
  30. Vermorel M, Coudray C, Wils D, Sinaud S, Tressol JC, Montaurier C, Vernet J, Brandolini M, Bouteloup-Demange C, Rayssiguier Y (2004) Energy value of a low-digestible carbohydrate, NUTRIOSE FB, and its impact on magnesium, calcium and zinc apparent absorption and retention in healthy young men. Eur J Nutr 43:344–352PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Vermorel M, Pérès G Energy (2004) In: Vidailhet M (ed) Nutritional requirements in children and adolescents of high-level of training. Tec & Doc Lavoisier, Paris, pp 5–16Google Scholar
  32. Volatier JL (2000) Individual and national INCA inquiries on dietary intakes. Tec & Doc, Paris, pp 1–19Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Boisseau
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Vermorel
    • 2
  • M. Rance
    • 3
  • P. Duché
    • 3
  • P. Patureau-Mirand
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratoire des Adaptations Physiologiques aux Activités Physiques (LAPHAP)EA 3813, Faculté des Sciences du SportPoitiersFrance
  2. 2.INRA, Unité de Recherches « Métabolismes énergétique et lipidique »Centre de Clermont Ferrand/Theix, CRNH d’AuvergneClermont FerrandFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Biologie des Activités Physiques et SportivesUniversité Blaise Pascal, UFR STAPSAubière CedexFrance
  4. 4.INRA, UMR1019, Unité Nutrition HumaineCentre de Clermont Ferrand Theix, CRNH d’AuvergneClermont FerrandFrance

Personalised recommendations