Daily protein distribution patterns in professional and semi-professional male Rugby Union players

Charlie Roberts*, Nicholas Gill, Katrina Darry , Logan Posthumus , Stacy Sims

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Recent research in healthy adults suggests an even distribution of protein throughout the day may result in greater stimulation of muscle protein synthesis compared to a disproportionate intake, with 0.4g.kg per meal at a minimum of 4 eating occasions proposed to optimise anabolism. In rugby players, this may be of benefit to exercise adaptations,
recovery, and performance. In the present study, semi-professional forwards (n = 19), semiprofessional backs (n = 6) and professional (n = 10) rugby players recorded dietary intake for seven days. Both absolute (g) and relative to body mass (g.kg) protein intake was calculated across six eating occasions. Relative protein intake at breakfast, AM snack,
lunch, PM snack, dinner and evening snack were 0.3, 0.1, 0.4, 0.2, 0.6 and 0.1g.kg, respectively. Total protein intake was significantly different between groups (p < 0.05). All groups demonstrated differences in protein intake between eating occasions (p < 0.01). Protein intake was highest at dinner in all athletes, with professionals consuming significantly greater protein than semi-professionals. Rugby players do not appear to meet the recommended per-meal protein dose of 0.4g.kg at a minimum of 4 eating occasions. Consumption of additional protein outside of main eating occasions as snacks may be beneficial to optimise muscle protein synthesis stimulation and thus adaptation, recovery and performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Sport and Exercise Science
Issue number1
Early online date24 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2022


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