Protein Powder for 12 YO Swimmer Girl - Should She Use?

I have several questions for a swimmer girl 12 years old

How much total protein do you think she should consume each day? Can we say 2 gram for per kg or 1 gram for per lb?

Do you think are there any dangers for 12 years old girl to use whey protein as a supplement?

I believe that both should be fine but I just wanted to ask experts here

I wouldn’t worry about protein powder at all, just make sure she gets a decent bit of meat in a couple of meals a day. A chicken breast is around 30g of protein, two of them a day plus a regular diet is likely all she’d ever need right now. She’s probably around 35-50kg and isn’t doing a substantial weight-lifting routine.

There’s no danger, but I think it’s WAY better to just focus on eating a healthy balance of proteins, fats, and carbs from whole foods which will help formulate better choices in the long term. 80-90g will be piss easy to reach and she likely doesn’t need that much. Focusing on the nutritious choices her body needs as a growing girl will do her a lot better.


If she gets some good food then the supps are totally unnecessary.


I agree regular food is better. But the family want to get some extra supplements. That much quality protein is hard to get in Turkey unfortunately. So from health perspective do you see any dangers?

I’m sorry but I doubt “quality” protein is as hard to get as you think. She could have a few eggs for breakfast and be well over a third of the way there already. Honestly, she’s better off with a glass of milk or a handful of nuts than a protein shake.

It appears that your family might believe supplements make the difference. They don’t. It’s incredibly likely that you’d be just throwing away money. If she’s eating as she should it’s overkill and potentially filling her up in a way that she won’t be getting the other nutrients that she’ll require more.

I don’t know if this, specifically, is his jam, but @mertdawg is the only one on this site I know has studied adolescent nutrition. Just a tag in case he has any thoughts.


I have to ask, your daughter likely weighs something to the tune of what, 30kg right now? Is it difficult to get 6oz of chicken breast daily? I know nothing of turkey or your situation, which is why I’m asking.

I’ll post back in a bit when i can get to my work computer and put more detail and effort into a response.

^also interested in the topic as the father of a 6 year old gymnast girl.

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My $0.02 on children, though I have no clinical research to back this up, is to flood them with good habits and nutrients. Fortunately the two go together.

I try to teach that we “eat for performance” when it’s game time, and ask them stuff like which pre-game meal made them feel better. At home, I just try to have a lot of good foods around so we don’t have to stress about “how much did you eat today?” We very often play the game of “I’m hungry, but I don’t want an apple or turkey.” Then you’re not hungry, my man.

I also never ask them to clean their plate. I think this rule has to be culturally appropriate. In the US, our issue is one of abundance rather than scarcity.

We do eat “treats” and “fun food” (just check my scale), but I don’t label it as rewards. We liken it to watching tv or playing on our screens or whatever. A little bit is fine, it’s absolutely a treat, but it doesn’t make up our day-to-day and it’s not what we do to prepare (i.e. we don’t watch tv when it’s homework time and we don’t eat ice cream and head out to practice).

I fully recognize how preachy this is, but I think a lot of us have kids and just saw an opportunity to expand past 30g of whey. @monstermmorpg I’m very sorry for hijacking.

To your specific question, I don’t see how 30g of whey could hurt - it’s essentially dairy. It’s not something I am doing with my kids, because I don’t see the need, but your context may be different. We are able to get plenty of protein within the context of a high-quality daily diet, without specifically planning for it, but you may not be able to. If you add it, my thought would be to just have it as a meal/ snack option vs. having a daily total she needs to hit. I would caution against counting out grams per kg for a 12-year-old girl (honestly for 90% of us), because:

  • I don’t think we have any data to support what she actually needs
  • Her entire body is synthesizing new tissue, to include actual skeletal growth - that’s not analogous to our daily net nitrogen balance concern
  • I think there’s some potential risk to promoting a detrimental relationship with food/ diet. From what I remember of Turkey, those female beauty pressures don’t differ from the US (maybe even stricter, actually)
  • I do think there’s real benefit in letting our athletic performance drive our dietary decisions - she’ll learn to “listen” to what she needs based on how she does in the pool vs. eating up or down to a menu
  • If we fill her up, which is a benefit for us, what nutrients is she potentially falling short on as a growing athlete in a high-demand sport?

Sorry, that ended up being more than $0.02… I adjusted for inflation so it’s more like €2


TY so much for very detailed answer. I am agree with most of it.

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It is doable to get but hard to eat :slight_smile:
I have a 4.5 years old daughter and she almost don’t eat any of the good food.

Her primary food is chocolate children milk, and coco pops with half skimmed milk

Of course we try to get her eat whole cooked meal as much as possible as well but I am against forced feeding too.

Alhamdulillah her development is also decent

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I hope he can also comment

Why not just drink regular milk?

Mine went through this phase too. Strangely she was more willing to eat foods that weren’t covered in chocolate when the options were “eat dinner or be hungry”… unsure why though :smirk:

Onwards to the more important part of the conversation.
Macros for Children:

Carbs: Most children of all ages should consume between 45% and 60% of their calories as carbs. This of course means that low-carb diets are almost exclusively out of the question for children and teens. Carbs are the most important fuel for both the highly active nature of
childhood and the developing brain (especially for academic abilities).
Fats: For children between 1 and 3 years of age, fats should compose between 30% and 40% of the diet, including plenty of saturated fats for growth and development. For children and teens between 4 and 18 years of age, fats should compose between 25% and
35% of total calories.
Protein: For young children (under age 10), protein can
compose between 10% and 20% of calories, and that upper limit can go as high as 30% for older children and teens. The lower intake of protein for younger children isn’t so much a health concern (extra protein is not toxic), but is lower to make more room in the diet for the fats and carbs they need.

Reference: Renaissance Woman
^FYI, this book is a treasure trove of important information to keep our better halves (and their mini-me’s) healthy and fit.

Protein in Adults:

Relative benefits of varying protein consumption rates (in grams per pound of body weight per day) is shown from point A (minimum protein needed for health) through point D (the point at which protein amounts force a reduction in other macronutrients to below recommended levels).

^(multiply lbs by 2.2 to get weight in kg)
Reference: Renaissance Diet 2.0

In summary:
I’m a little less risk averse than what Renaissance Woman recommends, but I don’t see a strong argument to support a high protein intake until your 12 year old resembles more of an adult than a child (post-pubescent). RW recommends their macros under the age of 18, but I think post-pubescent is justifiably an “adult” by our own physiology. I think the harm of reducing carbs and fats (to incorporate extra protein) to any significant extent below the recommended macros in Renaissance Woman is risking her hormonal health, which needs to be first priority (in my opinion).

I think it’s also important to note that girls are MUCH more predispositioned to develop eating disorders, and diet restrictions of really any kind can be extremely damaging to their mental and physical health. Not that you are asking about this, but it is a discussion about a young woman’s diet and it’s worthy of noting. Encouraging more protein consumption, though, I see little harm in… I just wouldn’t push it above 30% total caloric intake (meaning likely around 1.6 g/kg BW).

Sorry, I feel like I’m rambling. I’d strongly recommend investing a bit of money and purchasing Renaissance Woman, as it has incredibly valuable information that could help all the women in your life - throughout their life. Renaissance Diet 2.0 is great too, but is more generalized in target audience and definitely specific towards meatheads like me.


I don’t think a growing kid needs 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. Kids are so anabolic that they will retain all the protein they need as long as they get plenty of calories.

  1. Is she beginning puberty or well into it yet? Is she among the taller girls in her class?
  2. For her height is she skinny, normal or have some fat to spare?

Appropriate calories and micronutrients are far more important than adding protein as long as protein is not below a minimal threshold. 50 grams is plenty. 100 won’t hurt but won’t make any difference. Vitamin D and Omega-3s are really important. Whey is fine, but growing kids can use eggs, red meat and some salmon. Realize that adults need high leucine protein and fairly large doses of protein to signal protein synthesis, but don’t incorporate a lot of new protein into muscle tissue each day. Adults NEED protein to stimulate the growth response. Kids don’t really. They have major anabolic forces going on all the time. I have seen kids grow normally on very low protein diets consisting of mostly Potatoes and Corn Meal with oil and butter, and maybe 1 egg a day and meat once or twice a week.