A new Canadian study suggests that people over 60 who incorporate proteins into each of their three meals of the day are more resistant to age-related muscle decline.
Researchers at McGill University in Canada studied the effects of protein consumption in seniors, and how it can contribute to a loss of independence or an increase in falls.
Older adults usually consume the majority of their protein in one meal – dinner. To preserve physical vitality, protein consumption should be spread across all three major meals of the day, the researchers say.
In the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the scientists analyzed over 1,700 healthy adults between 67 and 84 for three years. Each year, the participants underwent hand, arm, and leg strength testing, as well as mobility tests.
After three years of data analysis, the researchers concluded that overall physical power decreased in both men and women; muscle strength deteriorated more rapidly than mobility, too.
Participants who ingested protein more consistently throughout their day seemingly kept more muscle strength, compared to those who ate the protein exclusively at the end of the day. Mobility was unaffected, however.
For sufficient protein intake, experts recommend 1.2g of protein per kilo of weight for adults of any age. So, a man that weighs in at 75kg should be looking to consume 90g of protein per day. The senior demographic may need to increase protein intake by even more – between 50% and 90%, depending on lifestyle.
As a general guideline, one portion of protein (30g) is roughly:
- One portion of meat, chicken or fish,
- One egg
- One tablespoon of peanut butter
- One-quarter cup of cooked beans, or
- One-half ounce of nuts or seeds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Department also recommends over-50s eat five to seven portions of protein per day, or 150g to 200g.
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