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Can Teenagers Take Protein Powder?

By Roger Thorne J.D.

Protein is a vital macronutrient that is most commonly found in meats, fish and poultry. Along with carbohydrates and fats, protein is a source of calories and provides nutrients that you need to function. Protein powders can serve as a source of protein for teens, though they are not typically necessary if a teen eats a balanced diet.

Protein

Teens, like everyone else, need protein. Protein helps to maintain healthy muscle and repair damage. The University of Florida reports that in general, teens involved in sports training need more protein than inactive teens. Most teens get enough protein from their diets and do not need to add it via supplements. Teens, however, can use protein powders to supplement their diets, especially if they need extra calories.

Protein Needs

People need different amounts of protein as they age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children ages 9 to 13 require 34 grams of protein per day. Girls over the age of 14 requires 46 grams per day, while boys ages 14 to 18 require 52 grams per day.

Laws

Protein powder is considered a food and is subject to the supervisory actions of the Food and Drug Administration. Protein powder manufacturers must ensure that their products are safe and comply with state and federal regulations. There are no laws that limit the sale of protein powder to teens. They are free to purchase protein powder as they please.

Special Needs

Some teens, especially those who are vegetarians, may use dairy-based protein powder as an additional source of protein. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, reports that vegetarians can get enough protein by carefully planning their diets, and protein powder isn't typically necessary. Some teens may want to use protein powder either as a supplement to gain weight or a meal replacement to lose weight. These teens should talk with their doctors before making any changes to their diets.

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