Are Seniors Getting Enough Protein in Their Diet?

As we age our body natural loses muscle mass due to age-related sarcopenia. As a result our bodies crave more protein to help maintain and build muscle mass. Typically, it can start around the 5th decade of life, or as early as your 40’s. What might have been a healthy amount of protein when we were 20 years old will not be enough when we begin to reach retirement age. The good news is that there’s an easy fix for this: eat more protein.

Recent studies have shown that the amounts the USDA sets for their daily recommended nutrition could be too low for seniors. Those are the same guidelines you’ll see on any Nutrition Facts panel on items at the grocery store. Did you know their recommended daily protein for an 18-year-old woman is the same amount for a 65-year-old woman?

Protein will build and maintain a healthy immune system, strengthen bones and repair damaged tissue.

The recommended daily nutrition is an average. Every person is different, and the USDA guidelines were created to help a large population prevent nutritional deficiencies. What these facts don’t account for is how nutrition changes throughout our entire life cycle. Protein is a great macronutrient that builds and maintains a healthy immune system, strengthens bones and repairs damaged tissue. You can view our previous blog posts for all the individual health benefits of getting a sufficient amount of protein in your diet.

No matter what age you are, your body needs protein to be healthy. As we age, our muscles begin to break down to a point that the recommended diet can’t keep up with our bodies. We become less efficient at processing nutrients. If ignored, this can have a serious impact on our health. To make up for being less efficient we can add more protein to daily meals, sometimes as much as double the recommended amount. Be sure to check with your doctor first to see if increasing protein is right for you.

The exact protein amounts are not yet determined, but those same studies acknowledge that seniors would see benefits from increasing their daily level of protein above the recommended average. Right now, the best estimates are that a 65-year-old woman should be getting about 29 percent more daily protein than the 18-year-old. This means an 18-year-old woman weighing 150lbs requires 56 grams of protein each day. That same woman at 65 years old would need about 72 grams of protein daily to make up for the muscle loss.

“a 65-year-old needs about 29% more protein than an 18-year-old”

That’s 16 grams of protein. Let’s visualize: 16 grams of protein is a whole cheeseburger’s worth of protein, or three cups of pasta. It’s the same as drinking two whole glasses of milk. But you don’t have to add another meal to your day to get that protein. It can be just as easy as adding a little more protein to every meal. One way that we recommend is mixing in a serving of Instapro protein powder to your breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. It’s all of the protein without the unnecessary calories from increasing portion size. Instapro boosts meals with 7 grams of protein in each pouch.

Learn more on the Instapro FAQ page, or request a sample to try it out yourself.

Web, D. (2015). “Protein for fitness: Age demands greater protein needs.” Today’s Dietitian. Retrieved May 2018.
Morais, J. A., Chevalier, S., Gougeon, R. (2006). “Protein turnover and requirements in the healthy and frail elderly.” Journal of Nutritional Health Aging. Retrieved May 2018.
Neubert, A., Campbell, W. (2014). “Elderly women may benefit from higher amounts of protein.” Purdue University Newsroom.
Godman, H. (2014). “Daily protein needs for seniors still unsettled.” Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School. Retrieved May 2018.
Wolfe, R. R., Miller, S. L., Miller, K. B. (2008). “Optimal protein intake in the elderly.” Clinical Nutrition. Retrieved May 2018.

Five Benefits of Protein

Protein is essential to everybody, whether you’re young or old, an athlete or a couch potato. For most people it’s not exactly clear why you need protein, and what makes it so special to daily life. There are plenty of reasons to have protein in your diet aside from it just being something you “need.”

We’re here to clear up any confusion and address the misconceptions about protein. Let’s have a look at how essential protein is to you:

1 – Gives you energy

Protein consists of amino acids, which your body needs for the energy to get through the day. The amino acids found in protein give you the energy to move your limbs, and to keep your mind sharp. Without protein you’d never be able to leave bed in the morning.


2 – Repairs and builds tissue, bone, and muscle.

Weightlifters and athletes recommend protein after workouts to help build and repair their muscles, but it’s not only for active people. All children need protein for healthy growth. Seniors should have more protein for part of a healthy diet as well. The proper amount of protein helps maintain strong bones, and fight natural muscle loss that happens as we grow older.

If you maintain a healthy diet then you’ll recover from injury faster as well.


3 – Helps with feeling full

Compared to other types of foods, those high in protein can help you feel full longer. This situation is beneficial to maintaining your weight or curbing those excess pounds. You’re less likely to overeat if you’re full.


4 – Strengthens your immune system

Protein won’t magically cure or prevent any illnesses or diseases, but it does help your immune system become healthy and stay strong. This, in turn, helps your body fight colds and infection so that you’re taking less sick days.


5 – Contributes to healthy growth

Maintaining a consistent level of protein is vital to your kids staying healthy daily. It could also have an effect on them later in life.

It’s not just the youth that could use more protein. As our bodies age, we’ll require more levels of protein to keep bones, muscle, and tissue healthy and our bodies in balance. Seniors tend to need more protein in their diet.


Now that you know how essential protein is to daily life, you may be wondering how you can make it part of your diet. It’s likely you get enough protein every day if you make it a priority to eat healthy. But what if you don’t? Not all of us have the time or willpower to maintain a strict diet.

Use this standard to find out if you’re getting the right amount of daily protein: the recommended daily amount is 0.4 grams of protein for each pound of weight. Someone weighing 100 pounds should aim for about 40g of protein each day. 150 pounds is 60g of protein daily. The USDA has an easy-to-use tool that can show you the amount of vitamins and nutrients someone needs based on their age, weight, gender, and height. This way you’ll know you’re getting the right amount of protein.


What if I’m not getting enough protein each day?

Many types of food have the essential protein you need: meats, poultry, fish, dairy, and some vegetables. Being conscious of what you eat can help a lot. You can also use supplements – like Whey Protein Powder that can blend into smoothies – for your protein needs.

The most recent (and in our opinion, easiest) solution is a natural protein powder that mixes into all your favorite foods. Instapro is just that type of powder. You can pour a packet of the protein powder into hot or cold foods, and mix it up without changing the taste. Your family can have the meals they’re used to with that boost of protein for their health. You can order a box of Instapro on our store page and have it delivered to your door.


USDA “All about the Protein Food Group.” Retrieved January 2018.
PennState Extension. “Protein and Protein Supplements.” Retrieved January 2018.
Neubert, A., Campbell, W. (2014). “Elderly women may benefit from higher amounts of protein.” Purdue University Newsroom.
Harvard School of Public Health. “The Nutrition Source: Protein.” Retrieved January 2018.

You need protein! Why?

Let’s talk about protein. You may already be familiar with protein, the building block of life. But maybe you only have a passing knowledge of “protein” as the word athletes, bodybuilders, and gymgoers throw around regularly.  Hearing the word “protein” may make you think of oversized tubs filled with protein powder for mixing into protein shakes. It might remind you of choosing between chicken, fish or tofu with your salad. Or it may conjure up images from high school science classes.

Now, set that idea aside for a minute. In whatever way you may have heard of protein, it’s clear this popular macronutrient is more than a part of our culture. Believe it or not, protein powder isn’t only for workouts. Every person – young or old – needs protein in their diet whether they work out each day or live a sedentary life. It’s vital nutrition that everybody needs, and is just as essential to life as water.

Why do we need protein?

No matter what age you are, your body relies on protein – and the amino acids that are in it – to stay healthy and functional. Everyone from growing children to adults to those in retirement need proper nutrition. Without protein, your body would be unable to repair damaged tissue, fight disease, or stay healthy.

But don’t worry! Most people have protein every day without even thinking about it. Plenty of the foods you eat provide your body with the amino acids you need to function. Some foods have significantly more protein than others, for instance, meats, dairy, and fish have more per pound than vegetables. Diets that consist of fast foods and processed foods may have adequate protein, but they typically lack some of the most important nutrients, and can be high in unhealthy sugars and sodium.

For adults, the Institute of Medicine recommends 0.4 grams of protein for every pound you weigh. You can use an online health calculator to figure out how much protein you’ll need each day based on your age, weight, and activity level. The USDA website has a tool to calculate all types of vitamins and macronutrients you need.

But how do you get protein?

Protein isn’t a vitamin, so you won’t find it in a pill. We’re going to bring in the fancy science for a second here: protein consists of groups of amino acids, which are essential to life. Our own bodies make some amino acids, but can’t produce all the different types on its own. That’s why we need to get a significant amount of amino acids from the foods we eat.

Some foods have “complete proteins” which means they have all the amino acids we need. You can find complete proteins in meats, fish, and dairy. You may have heard of whey protein: it’s made from milk and is an amazing source of complete protein.

You can find protein in vegetables too, but most of these are “incomplete proteins.” This means you’ll need to combine different veggies together in a meal to get a full serving of complete proteins. If you eat a variety of foods on a daily basis then you’re probably already getting enough complete protein.

What if you don’t have enough protein?

If you completely cut protein out of your diet, then your overall health would deteriorate. Yes, you need protein to live. If you aren’t consuming enough protein, then your body will have to find amino acids another way – in this case your body will begin breaking down muscle tissue. Some results of not getting enough protein include:

  • You won’t be able to heal after an injury, or the healing process will go much slower.
  • Whether you have enough protein or not, your body will still need amino acids. Your own body will take those amino acids from somewhere, and that starts with your muscle tissue. Eventually this means decreased mobility, less overall strength, and a much higher risk of injuring yourself in falls or other accidents.

Now that you know the effects of not having enough protein, you should know the benefits of getting the right amount:

  • The amino acids in protein build, maintain, and repair your body.
  • They strengthen your immune system so you’re not sick all the time.
  • It gives you energy. Not like the energy you get from caffeine, but the energy to move.

If children don’t get the necessary amount of protein then they aren’t going to experience a steady level of healthy growth. If they get the right amount of protein then they’ll have the energy to get through the day, whether that’s at school or in sports and activities.

I don’t think I’m getting enough protein each day. How can I fix that?

Like we said earlier, you probably have enough protein from the variety of foods you eat. But kids can be picky eaters and they might not be meeting the minimum recommended daily protein. You can start by:

  • Increasing the amount of dairy, meat, or soy they eat.
  • Including protein shakes/smoothies and protein bars to supplement regular foods.
  • But if somebody is a picky eater, then another option is Instapro Natural Protein Powder, which can be mixed into a wide variety of foods without impacting the flavor or texture. Anyone in your family will get the boost of protein needed without having to switch up their diet.
Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Institute of Medicine. Retrieved January 2018.
Thalacker-Mercer, Anna E et al. “Inadequate Protein Intake Affects Skeletal Muscle Transcript Profiles in Older Humans.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85.5 (2007): 1344–1352. Print.
Dhillon, Jaapna et al. “The Effects of Increased Protein Intake on Fullness: A Meta-Analysis and Its Limitations.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , Volume 116 , Issue 6 , 968 – 983.

The Story Behind a New Kind of Protein Powder

The history of Instapro is a very recent one that started as an effort to make a little girl grow healthy. Helping her has since turned into a mission to develop an all-natural protein powder for kids of all ages!

The Inspiration

In 2014 Adam and his wife were busy raising their children. One of their daughters, who was four at the time, was a pretty typical four year; she loved her toys and friends, her family, macaroni & cheese and pizza. She a few other foods she liked, but was an overall very picky and demanding toddler. At their annual pediatric physical they were informed that she was falling behind on the growth charts, and that she needed to have a boost of daily protein to help foster better development.

Following this doctor’s visit, Adam encouraged his daughter to try many different nutrition shakes for children. She refused to have any of the shakes since she didn’t like the taste. His next plan involved “stealth health” where he secretly added tiny bits of chicken or tuna to her foods in the hopes she wouldn’t figure out. But anyone with picky toddlers knows all too well that she knew right away her mac and cheese had something foreign. Adam was determined and set out with a new idea to pack protein into her everyday foods at home.

Developing an all new protein powder

As the owner of a well-known protein manufacturing company, Adam decided to develop a product that would meet his daughter’s needs as well as the needs of others. In his research he found that his daughter was not alone in reaching her daily protein intake, it was many school-age children around the country. So he set his team of food & research scientists to task to develop and all-natural protein powder that can dissolve and mix into a wide range of foods without altering the taste or texture. After more than 50 iterations and hundreds of typical children’s foods tested, the right protein powder was finally developed: InstaPro – an all-natural protein powder that instantly dissolves into a wide range of foods.

Today, Instapro is changing the way parents prepare their kid’s foods. It’s taking the power of nutrition and placing it into their hands. Parents have the flexibility and freedom to add Instapro to so many of the foods that their children already eat: pizza, macaroni & cheese, pasta dishes, applesauce, yogurt and so much more. Instapro was created to dissolve easily in foods while minimizing impact on the flavor, and children all over are loving it!

Where does Instapro go from here?

That’s up to our customers. Share the word! If you know a parent in the same situation that Adam found himself in, then suggest Instapro to them. That extra protein in one meal a day might be just what their child needs for healthy growth.