May 1, 2018 Jeffrey Bernstein

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.