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Active Expert: Nancy Clark RD CSSD

1 Post tagged with the amino_acids tag

Nancy, which brand of amino acids should I buy? On, there are 16 brands, ranging in price from $18 to $40. Help…!”


Answer: What makes you think you even need to buy essential amino acids? You can easily get them in protein-rich foods like eggs, yogurt, milk, chicken—any animal-based protein has all the essential amino acids your body needs.


The protein supplement industry has done an excellent job of making consumers believe they need to buy essential amino acids. Wrong! If you fuel-up your workouts with a protein+carb combination, such as a yogurt and banana, and then recover afterwards with another protein+carb combination such as lowfat chocolate milk followed by real foods at the next meal, you’ll be doing a fine job of getting all of these building blocks of protein. Rest assured, you could more wisely spend your money on protein-rich foods, not amino acid supplements, and get the results you want from your workouts.


Just to define the “lingo”: Proteins are made from many amino acids, just like words are made from many letters. Some of these amino acids— the essential amino acids—need to come from food, because the body cannot make them.


Here are a few ways to get two of the essential amino acids, isoleucine and leucine. Because pure amino acids taste nasty, I’ll get mine from yummy chocolate milk and real foods at meals any day!



Protein source                                    Isoleucine            Leucine

                                                             grams                  grams


Chocolate milk, 16 oz                            1.2                           1.9

Tuna, 6 oz can                                      2.0                           3.5 

Cottage cheese, 1 cup                           1.6                           2.9

Met-Rx Whey Protein, 1 scoop               1.4                           2.3



For more information, refer to the chapter on protein in: Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook

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Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

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