How Much Protein Do Older Adults Need

How Much Daily Protein Do You Need

How much protein do elderly people need post exercise?

The general consensus among health agencies, including the US Institute of Medicine , Health Canada, and the World Health Organization , is that the daily protein requirements for adults are based on body weight.

Major health organizations provide protein guidelines based on weight. The Institute of Medicine and others suggest that adults over the age of 20 consume 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

According to this formula, a person who weighs 150 pounds requires at least 55 grams of protein each day:

0.8g of protein x 68kg = 55g of daily protein

According to Carol Greenwood, Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, adults over the age of 20 should aim to get between 6070g of protein each day. For reference, a chicken breast contains about 30 grams whereas a half-cup of Greek yogurt about 15 grams.

“These recommendations are established by advisory boards, based on the current science,” Greenwood says. “Generally, in North America, people are eating a lot of protein-rich foods and protein needs kind of take care of themselves. Even fast-food junkies who might not be eating healthfully and may be consuming too much saturated fat, but they’re still generally getting loads of protein.”

Foods That Contain Protein

Protein is essential to life. Therefore, its found in almost everything you eat.

But some sources are better than others.

The best sources of protein are animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and most dairy products .

Protein from animal sources contain all the essential amino acids and are therefore considered complete proteins.

Plant products such as grains, grain products, legumes and vegetables also contain protein.

The majority of protein from plant sources are considered incomplete proteins because they lack one or more of the essential amino acids needed for human life.

Some of the best protein sources include :

  • Ground sirloin: 24 grams per 3 ounces
  • Tofu: 20 grams per 1/2 cup
  • Tuna: 20 grams per 3 ounces
  • Pork tenderloin: 18 grams per 3 ounces
  • Chicken breast: 13 grams per 3 ounces
  • Cottage cheese: 13 grams per 1/2 cup
  • Soy milk: 11 grams per 1/2 cup
  • Milk: 8 grams per one cup
  • Peanut butter: 8 grams per 2 tbsp
  • Yogurt: 8 grams per 6 ounces
  • Egg: 6 grams per 1 egg

These protein-rich foods contain different nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that others may not have, so its best to consume a variety of protein-rich foods not just one or two.

Calorie Needs For Older Adults

Getting older usually leads to lower activity levels, more fat stores and less muscle mass, according to the WHO. That being said, older adults don’t generally need to take in as many calories as they did in their earlier years.

Calorie needs vary depending on your sex assigned at birth and your activity level. Inactive adults defined as getting less than 30 minutes per day of physical activity need fewer calories than adults who are moderately active or active , according to the National Institute on Aging .

How Many Calories Do Older Adults Need?

Sex Assigned at Birth

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Make Every Meal Count

Some nutritionists believe that when you eat your protein is every bit as important as how much you’re getting. For instance, the typical American’s intake is weighted toward the end of the day say, in a chicken breast or fish at dinner but this may not be the most efficient way to process the macronutrient.

“We’re always building protein and breaking it down it’s dynamic, says Rodriguez. Spreading your protein intake throughout the day stops muscle from breaking down intermittently during the day. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those ages 67 to 84 who evenly distributed their protein consumption throughout the day tended to have stronger muscles than those who packed their protein into a single meal.

Older adults need 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal, along with 12 to 15 grams per snack, for optimal muscle health, says Rodriguez. To bulk up your breakfast, you might opt for plain Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries or a cut-up banana and half a cup of granola or two veggie sausages and a side of scrambled eggs .

High Protein Convenience Foods

How Much Protein Do Older Adults Need (&  Where to Get It)?

Food companies have responded to consumer interest and demand by offering products that are sold and marketed as “high protein.” High protein products are commonly marketed to older adults . While these convenience foods provide a source of protein, you can meet your requirement for protein by choosing less processed foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and legumes.

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So How Much Protein Should Older Adults Get

Generally, the protein recommendation for adults is to consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight more active women should be getting 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram. That translates into 54 to 68 grams of protein per day for a 150-pound woman.

Again though, people who are older likely need a bit more than that to help maintain their muscle mass. There aren’t specific dietary requirements yet, but research suggests that eating as much as 0.4 grams per kilogram of bodyweight at intervals spread out by a few hours may enhance the body’s appropriate use of protein to maintain skeletal muscle mass as best as possible. âThis would be just over 25 grams of protein per mealâand at one snackâfor a 150-pound women,â says Jones.

That’s…a lot of protein. It’s also a big change from the above-mentioned existing recommendations, so it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or registered dietitian before trying it yourself.

If you get the all-clear, Dewsnap recommends breaking down the increase to make it feel more digestible. âIt can be helpful to think of this as a per meal protein recommendation so itâs not overwhelming and to ensure you get enough in over the course of the day,â she says. Spreading protein throughout the day may also help the body digest and utilize it better, as opposed to all at once or in very large doses.

How Much To Put On Your Plate When Youre Over 65

Throughout life, men generally need more energy per day than women. This is because men tend to be larger and have a higher proportion of muscle.

The amount of energy you need each day depends on your age, height, and how active you are. But as you tend to lose muscle mass, and activity levels tend to drop with age, kilojoules also need to reduce. This doesnt mean you need fewer nutrients. In fact, your need for nutrients will remain roughly the same, if not go up.

Calcium is a good example. Your need for calcium for strong bones and teeth will increase, so extra serves of low fat milk, yoghurt and cheese are important. Other good sources of calcium are tinned salmon, sardines, leafy greens like spinach, kale and bok choy, sesame seeds and almonds.

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Why Do We Need More Protein As We Age

Nutritional needs change as we age and one change is that we require more protein. But why? The muscles attached to your bones is where protein is needed the most. These muscles are the ones that move your body. In lean, young adults, 30% of the bodys protein lives in the muscles. 50% of their total body weight could be muscle .

As you age, muscle mass can decrease. By 75-80 years old, only 25% of one’s body is made of muscle, on average. Most of the muscle you is lose in the legs, which leads to weakness, tremors and feeling tired and achy when walking.

Aging also uses up your reserves. When you are young, you can survive on a diet lower in nutrition. Because you have nutritional reserves. By the age of 65, you may have used up your reserves. A poor diet can cause you to be weak and frail.

When Should You Start Eating More Protein

PROTEIN | Older Adults | Nutrition Needs | Registered Dietitian (RD) / Nutrition Expert #onebody

Start eating more protein when you enter into your 50s. By adding some physical activity to your routine and eating the correct number of proteins, you can help to slow down the process of sarcopenia.

Muscle loss can start during your late 30s. With no amount of physical activity put into your everyday life can start the process even sooner. For every decade after youre in your 30s your muscle mass deteriorates 3% to 5%. A man will lose about 30% of his muscle mass during his lifetime.

Women going through menopause experience a hormonal shift that disrupts their muscle mass even more. Women with menopause need to eat more protein before they hit the age of 65.

Your body has reserves stored inside of it. The younger someone is, the more they can burn up their reserves on a poor diet and still have energy. When a person has reached the age of 65, the reserves are used up by then, and a continued poor diet will not help.

If you find yourself or the person you are taking care of not eating meat, check to see if there are some protein substitutes, they can eat.

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Physiological Impact Of Ageing On Body Composition

The largest single site of protein in the body is skeletal muscle, which makes up about 80% of the cell mass and 30% of whole body protein turnover in lean young adults . Each cell contains protein and that protein exhibits both functional and structural properties. In addition, there is a small amount of body protein which can be used to provide energy in the labile amino acid pools and during starvation.

Aging is associated with a progressive decline in resting metabolic rate at a rate of 1%2% per decade after 20 years of age . This reduction in RMR is closely linked with the decrease in whole body fat-free mass, which is composed of metabolically-active tissues and organs . Up to 50% of total body weight in young adults is lean muscle mass but this declines with aging to 25% when reaching an age of 7580 years . The loss of muscle mass is usually coupled with gains in fat mass without much fluctuation in body weight . The greatest loss of muscle mass is seen in the lower limb muscle groups, with the cross-sectional area of the vastus lateralis being reduced by as much as 40% between the age of 20 and 80 years .

Changes in the relative weights of the different compartments of body composition with ageing. Values are expressed as percentage of total body mass, adapted from Short et al., 2000 . 1 Fat-free mass.

High Protein Dinner Ideas

Most North Americans consume most of their protein at dinner. Protein does not need to be evenly spaced throughout the day. If you like protein later in the day, take advantage of this.

A serving size for a meat protein is typically the size of your palm.

  • Have a steak. Beef is a high protein food. If you choose a lean cut of meat, you can increase your portion and protein content.
  • Grill chicken breast. Chicken is another meat that you can eat more of if you choose a lean cut. A grilled chicken breast is quick, simple and tasty to add to a plate of vegetables or high protein grains.
  • Add some cheese. Cheese adds flavor and is a nice start or finish to a meal. Try a cup of cottage cheese, a few slices of hard cheese or sprinkling cheese onto your soup as a finishing touch!
  • Try fish. Fish provides extra options for variety. There are many different types of fish that you can add to your dinner. An average serving of tuna or salmon will give you about 25 grams of protein. Canned and frozen fish are also great choices.
  • Meatless Monday. Add in a plant-based meal such as a chickpea falafel, tofu added to a stir-fry, or a hearty five bean soup or chili. Beans tend to have about 15 grams of protein per cup but are low in fat and high in fiber. Try going meat free once a week to mix it up!
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    Protein Requirements For The Elderly

    Guest post by Paul Fairbairn, BSc in Sport and Exercise Science & Nutrition MSc student.

    No one wants to grow old. However growing old, and the challenges that come alongside ageing, is something that most of us will face at some point. As we age we become more susceptible to a number of health conditions including: osteoporosis, arthritis, dementia and the main focus of this article sarcopenia .

    Sarcopenia is a complex condition, which is facilitated by the adoption of a more sedentary lifestyle and a less than optimal diet. Like any degenerative disease, sarcopenia is of most concern when it comes to the effect it can have on a persons quality of life. As the condition advances there is a greater likelihood of falls and simple daily activities, for example getting out of bed, can become difficult.

    Muscle loss and aging

    Some muscle loss is considered as an inevitable yet undesirable consequence of aging. After reaching a peak in early adult years, skeletal muscle mass declines by 0.51.0% year on year, which begins at around 40 years of age . Matters can be made worse if an elderly person is bed ridden or disabled for a significant period of time, as this will accelerate the loss of lean tissue.

    Interestingly, its not uncommon for the principles of sports nutrition, to cross over into recommendations for elderly populations, especially for the prevention of certain health conditions.

    Protein and muscle mass


    Protein quality


    Daily Protein Needs For Seniors Still Unsettled

    How Much Protein Do Older Adults Need (&  Where to Get It)?

    ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

    My mom is a little feather of an 84-year-old, quite thin and less than five feet tall. So I wasnt surprised when her doctor told us recently to make sure she ate more protein, preferably at every meal or snack. Protein is good for building and maintaining muscle and bone. Its also important for strength and function. A new study aimed to extend the benefits even further, to stroke prevention.

    Researchers in China analyzed seven studies that included more than 250,000 participants who ranged in age from their mid-30s to their 80s. They were followed for an average of 14 years. People with the most protein in their diets were 20% less likely to have had a stroke during the study period than those with the lowest amount of protein in their diets. Even more impressive, the risk of stroke went down 26% for every increase of 20 grams of protein in the daily diet. The results were published online today in the journal Neurology.

    According to the researchers, if everyone started eating more protein wed see nearly 1,500,000 fewer stroke deaths per year globally.


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    How Much Protein Do We Really Need As We Age

    Mia Syn, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a master of science in human nutrition. She is also the host of Good Food Friday on ABC News 4.

    Grocery shelves are full of products pitching their protein content from energy bars to cereals to pasta. But how much protein do you really need in a day? And if you follow a plant-based anti-aging diet, can you get enough of this fundamental nutrient?

    Pacing Yourself With Protein If You’re Over 70

    Many older adults tend to eat protein only at lunch or dinner, but Greenwood advises having some protein at every meal.

    “It’s not the way a lot of older people eat,” she says. “They’d prefer to have just toast and jam for breakfast, but it’s a good idea to add an egg or some yogurt, getting protein at each meal. Older adults need to shorten the window of time between protein meals when compared with younger people.”

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    Protein Requirements For Elderly Adults

    Experts in the field of protein and aging recommend a protein intake between 1.2 and 2.0 g/kg/day or higher for elderly adults . The RDA of 0.8 g/kg/day is well below these recommendations and reflects a value at the lowest end of the AMDR. It is estimated that 38% of adult men and 41% of adult women have dietary protein intakes below the RDA .

    Most published results, based on data from either epidemiological or short-term studies, indicate a potential beneficial effect of increasing protein intake in elderly adults. These data demonstrate that elderly adults, compared with younger adults, are less responsive to low doses of amino acid intake . However, this lack of responsiveness in healthy older adults can usually be overcome with higher levels of essential amino acid consumption . This is also reflected in studies comparing varying levels of protein consumption , suggesting that the lack of muscle responsiveness to lower doses of protein intake in elderly adults can be overcome with a higher level of protein intake. The requirement for a larger dose of protein to generate responses in elderly adults similar to the responses in younger adults provides the support for a beneficial effect of increased protein in older populations .

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