Alcohol and Protein Requirements for Endurance Athletes

Dear Dr. Ruth,
I read in your book that alcohol in any dose is bad for you.  Is this true of wine, too?  And the second thing… what about all the sports medicine studies that claim runners and other high endurance athletes need 15 to 20 % more protein than couch potatoes.  I figure this would mean I would need about 80 grams of protein a day and I can’t imagine getting that from a vegan diet, not to mention a raw diet. Thanks for your help. G.B.

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Dear G.B.,
Yes, alcohol in wine is alcohol — period!  It is toxic to every cell in the body as it is a universal solvent.  It does tend to thin the blood which counteracts the sludging of the blood from animal foods, and it’s the sludging of the blood which leads to heart attacks and strokes — plus many other problems.  So wine is not the answer — not eating animal foods is.

Your second question: when athletes burn more calories, they eat more and this is how they automatically get more protein. You don’t need to change the composition, just the quantity.  If, for example, an athlete burns 5,000 calories a day over the average 2,000 calories per day, that will give him/her 3,000 extra calories with an average of 10% calories from protein.  So that is 300 protein calories.  Divide that by 4 (calories per gram of protein) and you get 75 grams — right in the ballpark you mentioned.  Don’t forget that veggies have plenty of protein in them, just look it up in the charts.  Hope this helps,

Dr. Ruth