Dietary Counseling and Consultations

Eat for Health

Build Muscle

Published April 7th, 2015 in Eat for Health, HN4U Blog

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

One of the most feared events for the elderly is a fall and the breaking of a hip, leading to a lengthy and sometimes fatal stay in a hospital. When I say fatal I don’t mean because the hospital did something wrong, however complications can occur outside of their control. Many elderly individuals upon reaching the hospital are deficient in key nutrients such as vitamin D and B12. Both of which contribute to impaired balance and osteoporosis. Combine this with poor nutrition of macronutrients like protein and recovery can be problematic.

You are what you eat, especially when it comes to how your body manufactures protein for use in muscle health. Research supports the elderly are often times not consuming adequate protein. “It is well known that consuming protein stimulates the body’s cells to build muscle, that includes our internal organs. Getting older combined with eating less protein rich foods can lead to a decline in the body’s muscle-building efficiency. Maintaining and building muscle is especially important for older individuals. Increased muscle mass can contribute to a healthier weight, better fitness and an improved quality of life. New research in the American Journal of Physiology — Endocrinology and Metabolism explore whether the amount and timing of protein consumption make a difference in the body’s net protein gains.” (

“Current US recommendations for daily dietary protein intake are 0.8 grams/kilogram of body weight (roughly 62 g of protein per day for a 170-pound person). Previous research has shown older adults need a protein intake of at least 0.40 g/kg of body weight at each meal.” (

The research team found while the distribution of protein across meals did not make a significant impact, the total amount of protein consumed did. The authors wrote. “Whole body net protein balance was greater with protein intake above recommended dietary allowance.”

As is so often the case the RDA is horribly lacking, and insufficient in its recommendations.


To Your Good Health and Information –


I.-Y. Kim, S. Schutzler, A. Schrader, H. Spencer, P. Kortebein, N. E. P. Deutz, R. R. Wolfe, A. A. Ferrando. Quantity of dietary protein intake, but not pattern of intake, affects net protein balance primarily through differences in protein synthesis in older adults. AJP: Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2014; 308 (1): E21 DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00382.2014