p-ISSN: 1300-0551
e-ISSN: 2587-1498

Hüseyin Hüsrev Turnagöl1, Selin Aktitiz1, Şule İrem Baltürk1, İrem Yakışıklı2, Zülfüye Erbaş1

1Nutrition and Metabolism in Exercise Division, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkiye
2Department of Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkiye

Keywords: Plant-based protein, insect-based protein, mycoprotein, microalgae-based protein, sustainable sports nutrition


The rapid increase in the world’s population leads to an increase in food demand. As a matter of fact, it is predicted that consumption of animal protein will double by 2050. However, increased consumption of animal protein raises climate crisis concerns as it may lead to an increased carbon and water footprint and more land use. Therefore, a sustainable sports nutrition concept is emerging for athletes with high animal protein consumption. As an alternative to animal protein sources, new protein sources are considered that can be used in athletes. In this review, the effects of plant, insect, fungal and algae-based protein sources on body composition, performance, and recovery by athletes were examined. Findings from the limited current literature reveal that: 1) vegetable protein sources are cost-effective and environmentally friendly, but they are low in sulfur containing essential amino acids, and must be consumed in large portions; 2) insect-based products have higher quality and higher protein content, but there is no consumption habit in many cultures; 3) although mycoproteins and microalgae have high protein content, they are not widely used yet due to their high production costs. In the future, it is expected that with the increase in awareness of the possible effects of animal protein production on the climate crisis, interest and research on alternative protein sources for sustainable sports nutrition will increase.

Cite this article as: Turnagol HH, Aktitiz S, Balturk SI, Yakisikli I, Erbas Z. Alternative protein sources in sustainable sports nutrition. Turk J Sports Med. 2023 58(1):47-54;https://doi.org/10.47447/tjsm.0694

Author Contributions

Concept: HHT, SA; Design: HHT, SA; Supervision: HHT; Literature Review: ŞİB, İY, ZE; Writing Manuscrpit: HHT, SA, ŞİB, İY, ZE; Critical Reviews: HHT, SA.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to authorship and/or publication of the article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or publication of this article.