Eating enough protein may help prevent muscle loss in older people.

Researchers fed 29 men who were over age 70 diets that contained either the Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein or double the RDA.  After 10 weeks, only the double RDA group had gained trunk muscle and power on a knee-extension test (which requires a bent leg against resistance). Leg muscle didn’t change in the double-RDA group, but it fell in the RDA group (possibly because those men had to cut back on their usual protein intake to not exceed the RDA).

What to do: Aim for a protein intake (in grams) equal to about half your body weight (in pounds), as some experts recommend. So if you weigh, say 140 pounds, shoot for 70 grams of protein a day. If possible, stick to protein foods rather than a liquid supplement, which is mostly sugar, oil, and milk and soy protein.

Source: Nutrition Action Health Letter January/February 2018

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