Contrary to popular
belief of decreasing protein intake as you grow older, new research advocates
increasing protein intake for the elderly.
Higher protein intake
animal or plant, may help prevent frailty in older women, according to a
Japanese study published in the Nutrition
condition commonly seen in elderly and is characterized by slowness, weakness, exhaustion, low
physical activity, and unintentional weight loss. People
with frailty have higher risks of subsequent disability, falls,
hospitalization, and death than those without frailty, so it is important to prevent this
, or the
age-related loss of muscle mass and strength, is said to be the main cause of
frailty. And inadequate protein intake has been associated with a loss of body
muscle mass. In other words, low protein intake
is the cause of sarcopenia. So, adequate protein intake is required to limit
the gradual body protein loss in the elderly, especially older women who are
more prone to frailty.
It was known for some
time that protein is inversely associated with frailty
. But the
question is what type of protein is beneficial - animal or plant? Which amino acids
of protein) are useful in fighting frailty? Researchers from the University of
Tokyo, Japan, studied the diet
history and amino acid composition of the consumed protein of 2108 elderly
women aged 65 and above, to examine the association of protein and amino acid
intakes with frailty among elderly Japanese women.
The researchers found
that total protein intake could significantly limit frailty in these women,
regardless of whether it was animal protein or plant protein, and regardless of
the amino acid composition of the protein.
Protein Requirement for
Different Age Groups
Although the Japanese government recommends a total
protein intake of 50g per day for women 70 years and older,
this study found that subjects who consumed about 70 g or more protein
daily had a significantly lower risk of frailty as compared to those who ate
lower amount of protein.
The study had been
done to understand the link between protein consumption and frailty in older
women, but the fact that protein is essential in all phases of life and equally
in men, women and children is uncontested.
dietary allowance (RDA) for protein for different age groups is tabulated
||Daily Protein requirement
|Children [1 - 3 years old]
|Children [4 - 8 years old]
|Children [9 - 13 years old]
|Women 14 - 70 years and above
|Boys [14 - 18 years old]
|Men [19 - 70 years and above]
In general, 10 to 35
percent of your calories must come from proteins.
Here's a list of some protein-rich foods
Meats such as poultry
duck, rabbit, beef, pork, lamb, sausage, ham, liver, and kidney
breaded, smoked or canned) and shellﬁsh such as crabs, oysters, prawns,
shrimps, mussels, and squid
as milk, hard cheese, soft cheese, yogurt
Starchy foods such as
bread, rusks, breakfast cereals, pizza, biscuits, and some fruits and
vegetables too contain some protein but they are not considered protein-rich
For example, a cup of
cooked brown rice can give you just 5g of protein that does not have all the
essential amino acids, whereas a 3-ounce piece of meat gives 21g of high
quality protein and a cup of dry beans contains 16g of protein. Most plant
protein foods such as beans too are deficient in some or the other amino acids,
so they are not considered high-quality protein.
A smart, healthy diet
includes a variety of wholesome foods, is the best and safest way to fulfill
your body's needs for protein.