Older adults don't eat enough protein to stay healthy

28 February 2020

We evaluated the diets of 256 elderly people aged 65-89 worldwide.

Researchers evaluated two existing data sets that have extensive and valuable information on the dietary intake of older people

Lower than 50% older people lack of protein

They found that less than 50% of participants met the recommendation of 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (about 53 grams for men and about 46 grams for women).

However, many experts believe that older people need more protein than the UK recommends, and international organizations recommend 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Fewer than 15% of study groups met age-specific recommendations.

Studies have also shown that older people need 25-30 grams of protein in their daily diet to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Only one participant in the study achieved this goal, while others ate lower levels of protein-rich foods, especially in the morning.

Protein consumption

We know that protein consumption, especially when combined with exercise, helps slow down the loss of muscle mass and strength caused by aging.

Inadequate protein intake leads to wasted muscles, affects body function, and increases the risk of weakness and death from falls. In obese elderly people, this risk increases again, and they may not be able to exercise or move freely because their weight may mask the problem.

The study found that meat, fish and dairy products accounted for 86% of participants' protein intake. Researchers suggest that participants can benefit from increased daily protein, especially in the morning when intake is low.

Musculoskeletal problems cause £7 billion!

It is estimated that fragile and related musculoskeletal problems cause £ 7 billion in losses in the UK each year, so maintaining a healthy lean body mass has never been more important to a healthy active life as you grow older.

We know that national guidelines do not necessarily reflect the increased need for older people to maintain muscle mass, so for middle-aged and elderly people, every meal should include a source of protein.

As an indicator, you can get 32 ​​grams of protein from chicken breast and 6 grams of protein from eggs. Seniors can easily increase their protein intake by eating high-protein breakfast cereals or eggs and a slice of brown toast for breakfast. One should also consider including sustainable plant protein sources in the diet, such as beans, lentils, tofu and peas.

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Our goal

Our goal is to help everyone live longer, healthier and more independently. Based on the research, researchers are making recommendations on how to use protein to reduce muscle wasting during cancer treatment.

We already know that protein intake can improve our ability to fight infections and anti-aging diseases such as cancer.

Therapies such as chemotherapy can increase the rate of muscle loss, so we hope to further this study to see if we can determine whether protein intake can improve outcomes for people receiving cancer treatment.