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The Amount and Timing of Protein Intake at Meal Times is Critical For Older People

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The Amount and Timing of Protein Intake at Meal Times is Critical For Older People

The Amount and Timing of Protein Intake at Meal Times is Critical For Older People
February 09
14:40 2016

One of the enduring health challenges with ageing is the loss of lean tissue mass or muscle. Protein is a critical nutrient for building and maintaining muscle and new research published in the January edition of The Journal of Nutrition[1] has found that eating an even amount of protein at each meal throughout the day might be better than the current practice of having most of the protein at dinner time.

“An optimized and balanced distribution of meal-level protein intakes could be beneficial in the preservation of lean tissue mass in the elderly,” write the authors.

Study Details

At the forefront of improving health, wellness and quality of life through world-class food innovation, Food for Health Ireland (FHI) funded this study with a focus on commercialising the results of the research.

FoodForHealthIrelandLogo60 participants, aged between 50-70 years, completed the 6 month intervention study. The volunteers consumed at breakfast and lunch, the 2 low-protein containing meals of the day, either a beverage containing high-quality, milk-based protein or one with similar calories but no protein. Importantly the quality and amount of protein intake per meal in the intervention group was elevated to a level considered optimal for protein synthesis, providing the platform for the observed change in whole body lean tissue mass.

Results

Prof Philip Jakeman, FHI University of Limerick and lead investigator on the study explains: “On completion of the study, the between-group difference in the amount of whole body lean tissue (muscle) mass was an impressive +0.6kg (1.3 pounds) in favour of those who consumed the milk-based protein supplement.”

Jens Bleiel, CEO of FHI.

Jens Bleiel, CEO of FHI.

Jens Bleiel, CEO of FHI, says: “FHI aims to identify bioactive ingredients that can be derived from milk, ensure that any components found satisfy real consumer needs and accelerate their commercialisation. The healthy ageing market has a lot of potential for novel ingredients with proven health benefits.”

“Globally we know there is a demand for new and innovative products in this area. This is a very exciting research project and provides further evidence to support our research programmes in which we develop products to help address consumers need to include (high quality) protein throughout the day,” comments John Holland, Director of Operations, Carbery Group – one of the funders of FHI.

1. Norton C, Toomey CM, McCormack W, Francis P, Kerin E, Saunders J and Jakeman P. Protein supplementation at breakfast and lunch for 24 weeks beyond habitual intakes increases whole body lean tissue mass in healthy older adults. Journal of Nutrition 2016 Jan;146(1):65-9. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.219022. Epub 2015 Nov 18; http://jn.nutrition.org/content/146/1/65.long

For further information visit www.fhi.ie.

Supported by Enterprise Ireland, Food for Health Ireland (FHI) brings together the scientific and commercial expertise of Ireland’s leading research institutions and dairy companies: University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, Teagasc’s Moorepark Food Research Centre, National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway and NUI Maynooth, and Dublin City University, Carbery, Dairygold, Glanbia, the Kerry Group, and Ornua.

 

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