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US adults not consuming enough protein, study shows

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These days it seems like Americans are crazed about including protein in their diets, and many of the most popular diet or weight loss tips suggest increasing protein intake. However, a recent study shows that nearly half of older Americans (age 50 and older) are not consuming enough protein. This lack of protein can lead older adults to be more susceptible to common orthopedic injuries and general health issues. As we age, it’s increasingly important to consume the recommended amount of protein in our diets because we lose muscle mass as we get older. This gradual decrease in muscle function as we get older is known as sarcopenia. Reduced strength and muscle mass makes older adults more susceptible to falls and bone fractures. The research also found that insufficient protein intake by older adults usually signals poor health and overall quality of life. The most recently published guidelines by the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 0.8 grams of protein for every 2 pounds of body weight. Put in simpler terms, the RDA or average protein intake for adults should be 46 grams for adult women; 56 grams for adult men. The article notes that older adults may not be consuming enough protein for a variety of reasons, including loss of appetite with age, lower energy needs, or simply eating less due to economic or social issues. Here are some suggested foods to increase protein intake in your diet and in turn help to maintain muscle mass:
  • Fish, Seafood
  • White meat poultry (chicken)
  • Lean beef
  • Eggs and dairy
    • Skim or low-fat milk
  • Fat-free or low-fat cheese
  • Beans and lentils
Protein-rich diets can help older adults to maintain better health overall because many protein sources are nutrient-dense with antioxidant properties, which boosts the immune system. In contrast, the study found that older adults lacking protein in their diets often had limitations when it came to mobility and other day to day tasks like kneeling, sitting and walking up stairs. If you are concerned about your muscle mass beyond diet, it’s best to see a orthopedist who can recommend treatment or physical therapy for your issues. If you have concerns about your diet, you may want to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist as well to be sure that you are getting the recommended amount of protein. If you or your loved one is concerned about their muscle mass or other orthopedic issue, be sure to make an appointment with us: http://robertmoriartymd.com/contact-us/ or 631-423-BONE (2663).

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