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Body Kneads News

July 19, 2017

Older Adults Who Evenly Distribute Protein Intake Have Increased Muscle Strength

muscle strengthCheck and double check the labels on the back of products prior to consumption, log the total number of calories per meal or snack, and fit in a daily exercise routine to keep muscles intact. Sounds like the perfect plan for healthy aging, right? Sadly, it might not be enough.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein, a value that serves as the suggested amount of protein an individual must consume based on their body weight, is approximately 0.36 grams per pound. This means an elderly woman of ideal weight (152 pounds) should be consuming roughly 55 grams of protein every day, and an elderly man of ideal weight (184 pounds) should be consuming roughly 66 grams of protein every day.

Unfortunately, most older adults don’t meet the recommended dietary allowance of protein. Approximately 31 million people in the United States skip breakfast, implying a zero percent protein intake, whereas dinnertime consumption offers the highest protein intake out of all three suggested meals. Clearly, there’s a vast imbalance in protein intake across meals eaten throughout the day.

A better approach to protein may be to spread intake over the course of the day. This means more protein at breakfast and lunch, perhaps less at dinner. A study performed at McGill University in Quebec, Canada, concluded that uniformly distributed protein consumption across the three suggested meals per day shows an upward trend in muscle mass strength among individuals between the ages of 67 and 84.

The study’s subjects also underwent annual physical performance tests organized into two categories, muscle strength and mobility.

The accumulation of the dietary recall data and composite scores from the physical performance tests showed that men and women who had consumed protein more evenly across their three meals performed much higher on their muscle strength tests than those who consumed a varied amount of protein at each meal. In addition, only men showed a high mobility score with the consumption of a uniformly distributed amount of protein.

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July 19, 2017



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