Protein supplementation and dietary behaviours of resistance trained men and women attending commercial gyms: A comparative study between the city centre and the suburbs of Palermo, Italy

Antonino Bianco, Caterina Mammina, Ewan Thomas, Marianna Bellafiore, Giuseppe Battaglia, Tatiana Moro, Antonio Paoli, Antonio Palma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Background: It is anecdotally recognized that commercial gym users assume supplements in order to improve performance or health. However, dietary behaviours of people and athletes attending commercial gyms have been poorly studied. The exact amount and frequency of dietary supplements consumption are still needed to be investigated. The main purpose of this study is to understand the quantity and quality of food intake, as well as dietary supplementation in people attending commercial gyms. Secondly to compare the city centre and the suburbs of Palermo, Italy.Methods: A face-to-face questionnaire was administered to 561 subjects, 207 from the city centre (CC) and 354 from the suburbs (SB) of Palermo, Italy. Frequency of protein supplements use and association with dietary behaviours were investigated. Subsequently, the frequency distribution was used for demographic assessment.Results: Frequency of protein consumption was similar in both groups (30% for CC and 28.8% for SB). Males show greater consumption percentages than females (30.5% in males and 6.9% in females). Milk and chicken are the most frequently consumed foods. Data show that non-supplement users (NSU) consume significantly more snacks and bakery products than supplement users (SU) (P <0.001). While, SU consume significantly higher quantities of vegetables, nuts, fresh fish, eggs and canned tuna (P <0.001). SU consume less low protein food and higher protein foods than NSU. No differences were found between CC and SB.Conclusions: Protein consumption among commercial gym users is 30% for the CC and 28.8% for the SB. Significant differences were found between CC and SB females, underlining an interesting discrepancy, indicating to dietary supplement industries regarding regional implications. Subjects that use protein supplements also consume larger quantities of high protein food compared to NSU. NSU also eat higher proportions of unhealthy food compared to SU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30
JournalJournal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 18 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • Dietary behaviour
  • Gym
  • Protein project
  • Protein supplements
  • Questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Food Science

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