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Why protein is so important especially in old age
When people get older, weight loss is sometimes considerably more difficult. Weight loss also contributes to muscle and bone loss in old age, which leads to a loss of strength and an increased risk of falling. However, a new study from the US has now shown that a low-calorie, high-protein diet can lead to weight loss from the age of 60 while maintaining muscle mass and bone quality.
In their current study, scientists at Wake Forest University in North Carolina found that a high-protein diet contributes to weight loss without harming muscles or bones. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism".
Protein-rich diet maintains muscle mass
The data from a randomized control study were evaluated for the new investigation. The results showed that a high-protein, low-calorie diet helps older overweight adults lose more weight, maintain more muscle, and improve bone quality.
Benefits of this type of diet
In the case of older patients in particular, many doctors are reluctant to recommend losing weight because they fear that losing muscles and bones could lead to mobility problems or increase the risk of injury, the experts explain. The study now suggests that high-protein, low-calorie diets can give seniors the health benefits of weight loss while maintaining the muscles and bones needed for better quality of life as they age. The fat lost came mainly from the abdomen, hips, thighs and back. A lower fat percentage helps prevent or combat diseases such as diabetes and strokes.
How did the study work?
For the study, 96 adults over the age of 65 were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group followed a six-month calorie-restricted eating plan that included more than one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight daily, as well as sufficient calcium and vitamin D. The second group of subjects was only a control group, which was supposed to consume 0.8 g protein per kilogram body weight. The research results showed that the participants in the first group lost about 8.2 kilograms, most of them fat (87 percent), and thereby gained their muscle mass. The control group, on the other hand, only lost about 0.2 kilograms. Participants also achieved an improved rating of 0.75 points based on the US Healthy Aging Index, which measures biomarkers to predict mortality and longevity.
Should guidelines be revised?
The studies suggest that current guidelines for protein intake may be too low for older people, as people should take in more protein as they age to keep their muscles strong. (as)