Nutrition Bulletin for Dancers and Body Composition

May 3, 2018

Time to introduce, for the second time, one of Science in Dance's contributing Coaches and Authors... Chris Taggart. Chris has featured a few times as a Strength and Nutrition Coach and is highly regarded by the Dancers he has come in contact with. 

On a light note, Chris's enthusiasm and charisma is hard to match. His approach to coaching and care is completely centred around the Dancers and this is a key ingredient for making difference in the Dance World. Science in Dance is thrilled to have him on the platform.


Chris has some information and guidance regarding Protein and why it is necessary. 



Protein as a Recovery Strategy


Consuming a source of protein after intensive exercise is essential to maximise muscle protein synthesis and net protein balance.


First, I want to dispel a few myths surrounding protein and the diet you may have come across:

  1. Renal problems – You may hear that too much protein in the diet has an adverse effect on the renal system and damages the kidneys. This is very overstated, and studies have shown there are no issues with diets less than 2g/kg of bodyweight per day.

  2. Women don’t need as much protein as men – This is true, however, a meta-analysis found that protein requirement in women is only about 10% lower than that of men.

  3. I need supplements to hit my protein requirements – If you are hitting your caloric needs through you diet, you will likely be consuming enough protein. However, if your diet is not very balanced, you may not be consuming a wide range of amino acids. Supplements have shown to rectify this; however, they must remain that. A supplementation to your diet.



Types of Protein



The main component of milk protein. Comes in various forms of powders. Main forms are whey powder and whey protein isolate. Isolate is a highly processed form that has substantially removed lactose and fat and therefore more acceptable for people with lactose intolerance. Most research is done on whey protein supplements and performance, so is very reliable supplement.



The other main component of milk protein. Forms a gel or clot in the stomach. This provides efficient nutrient supply; providing slow sustained release of amino acids into the blood stream for several hours. Also enhances nitrogen utilization and retention in the body (the main component of amino acids).



High quality with a PDCAAS score of 1.0 despite being a plant source. This basically means 100% of the amino acids available are digested. High antioxidants, specifically iso-flavones. These compounds have been shown to be preventative in muscle soreness. There is another common myth that soy products increase oestrogen levels; however, there is no conclusive evidence for this. Oestrogen, like testosterone is an anabolic hormone, so would not be detrimental to strength anyway if this is increased.


Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)

May have more benefit than intact protein. 8-10g of EAA may be optimal for young adults. Post exercise is preferred as muscle is easily stimulated in a lower dose and is therefore more calorically efficient i.e. there’s less risk of putting on weight for the same effect.


Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAAs)

Leucine is the most potent stimulator of cell signalling and is vital for protein synthesis. Studies have shown that a minimum of 45mg/kg body weight are best to optimise rates of whole body protein synthesis. BCAAs (3:1:1 ration of leucine: isoleucine: valine) before or during exercise may prevent net rate of protein degradation, improve mental and physical performance, and have a sparing effect on glycogen degradation and depletion of glycogen stores.



These recommended protein intakes can generally be met through diet alone, without the use of protein or amino acid supplements. Energy intake sufficient to maintain body weight is necessary for optimal protein use and performance.



Practical example