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Aging Adults Needs More Protein

Aging America Needs More Protein

As the baby boomers creep through time, like a pig through a python, it is interesting how much we are learning from them about life, medicine and food. Everyone knows protein is important but new research is saying we might need more, especially as we age.

This may be true, but unfortunately as we age the desire to eat higher protein foods seems to be reduced. In addition, most seniors get less protein because they're living alone and it is easier and cheaper to prepare foods that are rich carbohydrates than it is foods rich in protein. In a recent study on adults 65 to 85 nearly 30% were consuming inadequate amounts of protein.

How much protein do we need? Well, that is recently come up for debate. Recommended daily allowances, set by the National Academy of Sciences, for healthy adults compute out to approximately 36% of bodyweight. For example, that is about 45 grams for a 125 pound person, 50 grams for a 150 pound person, and 71 g for a 200 pound person. However, emerging information is saying that it is not enough. Timothy Doherty, the assistant professor of clinical neurological sciences and rehabilitation medicine at the University of Western Ontario states “We’ve done a number of studies that show that the RDA is just what it's designed to be, a marginal intake that prevents overt deficiencies. It's not necessarily the preferred intake for keeping your muscles as you get older”.

So then, what do we need? Since we can't trust the RDA to speak clearly and definitively we went to protein expert Wayne Campbell, a professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University who said, “We would like to see them get at least 25% more than the RDA.” That works out to be about half your body weight in grams of protein.

Since eating this much protein is often difficult and foreign for older adults, dietitians and nutritionists are recommending adults have at least one supplemental protein shake or meal replacement a day. Not only is supplemental food quick, easy and cheap but is concentrated and easily digested by our aging bodies.

Let's take a look at popular foods and their protein content.

Meat and Fish (3-4 oz) chicken or turkey 25
beef or pork 25
Fish 22
hot dog 7

Dairy and Eggs
yogurt(6 ounces) 8
milk(1 cup) 8
cottage cheese(1/2 cup) 14
one egg 6

Beans, Tofu and More
Beans(1/2 cup) 8
Tofu(3 ounces) 7
veggie burger 5
Edamame 10

Other Foods
Kashi Go Lean (1 cup) 13
peanut butter (2 tablespoons) 8
cornflakes(1 cup) 2
Nuts (1 ounce) 5

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