Eating more protein could be helpful in reducing age-related muscle loss in older adults. Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that consuming protein-rich diet during breakfast and lunchtime may help in preventing muscles loss in older adults as they lose muscle as they age.
Protein is one of the building blocks of life as it aids the growth of muscles and also facilitates muscle recovery. Researchers said that only eating protein diet is not enough, one must evenly spread the intake throughout the day to have maximum benefits.
Muscles atrophy is the loss of muscle tissues. Lack of physical activity with age or due to injury, genetics, poor nutrition, medical conditions and improper diet may contribute to the muscle loss. Different studies suggest that on average adults can lose up almost 8 per cent of their muscle mass each decade after the age of 40 but muscle loss is luckily reversible in most cases. To rebuild the muscle mass one should focus on nutrition and take proper diet.
Researchers in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham studied the diet taken by young, old or middle-aged individuals with a special focus on the quantity, eating pattern and protein consumed.
The outcomes revealed that most of the individuals in all these three groups exceeded current guidelines of Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein consumption, the protein intake and its distribution across meals and snack eaten daily were varied.
120 people participated in the study and they all were divided into three distinct groups based on their age.
The participants in the first group had an average age of 23 years, the second group had an average age of 51 years and the third group had an average of 77 years. All three groups were advised to complete their food dairy over a period of three days, weighing out every food item which is being consumed.
Researchers studied the dietary patterns of participants and analyzed the protein intake across these three age groups and observed 18 different dietary patterns. Outcomes revealed that old people were more likely to consume lesser protein source such as bread, as compared to middle-aged and young individuals.
Dr Benoit Smuninx said that elderly people showed a blunted response towards muscle building when eating a certain quantity of protein. Therefore, they need to consume a more protein-rich diet as compared to the other two age groups to have the same muscle-building response. He added that another way of building muscles is to do regular exercise.
He shared that the majority of the participants reached the Recommended Daily Allowance of dietary protein but the study outcomes revealed that specific one-size-fits-all recommended guidelines for protein consumption are not appropriate for all the age groups. Simply advising elderly people to eat more protein-rich diet isn’t really enough.
There is a need for a more sophisticated individualised approach which can help people in understanding the required quantity and timing of protein consumption for supporting and building muscle mass.