I’ve written a lot in the past about sarcopenia, the loss of muscle that starts after age 30 and results in a 3% – 5% decrease in muscle mass per decade. This is a serious problem for Baby Boomers and seniors, leading to falls and a loss of mobility, functional abilities and independence.
The best way to fight sarcopenia is with strength training, supported by a proper diet. In particular, protein intake is key for maintaining and building muscle.
A new study looked at how protein is divided throughout the day to discover if eating protein at all three meals would be beneficial. Most Americans eat about half of their daily protein at dinner, with very little at breakfast and a moderate amount for lunch. The problem with such a protein consumption pattern is that we don’t store protein well; muscle is constantly being broken down and protein needs to be replenished.
Researchers in Canada studied 1,7000 healthy men and women, aged 67 – 84, for three years. The results: those who consumed protein evenly at all three meals retained greater strength than those who ate most of their protein at dinner.
While this result is an observation of an association only, not a direct cause and effect, it does support other investigators who recommend an equal distribution of protein intake for older adults.
The key seems to be eating about 20 – 30 grams of protein per meal.
Here’s a sample menu to show how this could be fulfilled:
2 eggs scrambled with cheese (1/4 cup)
1 slice whole wheat toast
1 cup lowfat milk
tuna salad (2 oz. tuna) on a bed of greens
1 serving whole-grain crackers
Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup
homemade burrito with 2/3 cup pinto beans and chicken, 1 oz., on whole-wheat tortilla
brown rice, 1/2 cup
For more ideas to stay strong as you age, give me a call!
We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.