Quality protein helps fight aging

March 22, 2012 at 12:26 AM
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DALLAS, March 22 (UPI) -- Raising daily protein intake can help fend off age-related muscle mass loss, while exercise keeps muscles and bones strong, a U.S. registered dietitian said.

Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said the older people get, the more important it becomes to pay attention both to the quantity and quality of the calories consumed.

"The good news about calories taken in is the more physically active you are, the more calories you can consume at any age," Sandon said in a statement. "The bad news is because we are aging, we are losing muscle mass, and we need the right type of calories to help promote and keep that lean muscle mass."

A healthy diet rich in quality protein helps minimize muscle loss and experts recommend the average adult consume .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight -- although for older individuals that benchmark jumps to nearly .7 grams. For example, for someone who weighs 154 pounds, the .7 gram of protein translates into about 4 ounces of recommended daily protein.

A 4-ounce piece of grilled trout provides roughly 28 grams of protein, Sandon said.

It is important to consider the quality of the protein, like that packed with essential amino acids -- lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy products, cheese and yogurt -- Sandon said.

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