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There Is Power in Protein for Older Adults

Study finds the formula to keep muscle while losing body fat.

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Many older adults could benefit from dropping a few pounds of body fat. With weight loss, though, there are often reductions in bone strength and lean body mass, thereby raising the risk of mobility issues and injury from falls. New research shows that a diet tweak might help older people retain their muscle while simultaneously scaling down their body fat.

A Wake Forest University study published in the February issue of the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism reported that among 96 obese participants with an average age of 70, a reduced-calorie meal plan that provided 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight resulted in significant weight loss and also worked to preserve muscle and bone mass. So fitness and nutrition professionals who are working with older adults should educate them to be calorie-conscious and to consume enough high-protein foods.


165 pounds = 75 kilograms = 75 grams protein/day.

Here are some samples (in 25 g increments); choose 3 that suit your eating style.

Protein Sources

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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