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Is this the best protein for young athletes?

Musashi have launched a new product targeted at young athletes 11- 15 years, called Young Athlete Protein.  This product has sparked lots of discussion amongst Sports Dietitians, as there is no scientific evidence that protein powders or other supplements are beneficial, or safe, for athletes in this age range. 

So, what’s the low down?

Firstly, and confusingly, Musashi Young Athlete Protein is not a protein powder; it contains protein, fat and carbohydrate, so is more comparable to Sustagen Sport and Milo added milk. So, I decided it would be helpful to compare it to these other products.

The recommended dose of the Young Athlete Powder is 20g or  ½ a scoop (scoop provided) in 200ml water.

20g of Young Athlete Protein in 200ml water gains Young Athlete Protein 5 stars in the Health Star Rating, compared with 1.5 stars for Milo and 2 Stars for Sustagen Sport. 

Milo and Sustagen Sport powders need to be added to milk, so the fact that the Young Athlete Protein is added to water, rather than milk, makes it much more portable and practical for busy young athletes. 

However, 20g of Young Athlete Protein in 200ml water doesn’t taste very nice, and I doubt many 11-15 year old athletes would drink it this way. One scoop or 40g however, is much nicer, so I’ve decided to compare 40g of Young Athlete Protein in water, with Milo (20g) and Sustagen (15g) added to 200ml reduced fat milk.

Nutrients Young Athlete Protein Milo + milk Sustagen + milk
Energy (cals) 160 180 180
Protein (g) 15 10 12
Fat (g) 4 4.5 3
Carbohydrates (g) 17 22 25
Sugar (g) 8 20 21
Cost per serve $2.00 50c 50c

The above table shows that the Young Athlete Protein has less energy, a more protein, less carbohydrate and a lot less sugar, compared with the Milo and Sustagen added to reduced fat milk. 

I have also calculated the cost per serve, (again using 40g of the Young Athlete Protein), and the Young Athlete Protein is 4 times the cost of Milo and Sustagen Sport with reduced fat milk.

The Verdict? 

Young Athlete Protein is an excellent product compared to it’s competitors, but, it is 4 times the price.

Jo Allan - Accredited Sports Dietition

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