A recent study conducted with nearly 12,000 people age 51 or older uncovered a startling finding: almost 40% had protein deficiency. The extensive study also found that a person’s protein intake decreased with age. Close to 50% of participants above 70 were getting less than the required daily amount of protein.
This is a worrying trend considering that proper protein intake helps avert the development of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes—not to mention its ability to improve muscle strength and reduce age-related obesity. This problem has popped up among older adults in Europe, as well.
Federal recommendations suggest that a 150-pound person should be consuming around 54 grams of protein a day. However, protein requirements fluctuate with age, and muscle protein synthesis begins to decline steadily once a person hits the big 4-0.
Why is our nation’s protein deficiency so concerning? Because protein is, quite literally, an essential aspect of life. Here’s why protein matters, and some high-quality protein supplement recommendations to help you reach your daily dose.
Proteins are part of your musculoskeletal structure, and they also create enzymes that affect the hemoglobin that transports oxygen in your blood. Protein levels are directly responsible for a healthier life.
Amino acids that create protein exist in our bodies, but the most essential ones come from food. If you’re a vegetarian, you should know that vegetables, grains and fruits lack some amino acids—unlike meat, which has all of them. If you don’t eat eggs or meat, you likely need to supplement your food intake if you want all the following benefits of a protein-rich diet.
- Chronic Diseases: A shift in the type of protein you consume can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). One study found that participants between the ages of 33 and 50 had a lower risk of CHD if they consumed nuts, fish and poultry. One serving of nuts daily was a better option than one serving of red meat. By making the right protein choice, you can reduce the chances of a chronic disease. Fatty fish like salmon, for instance, are high in protein and low in sodium and saturated fat.
- Diabetes: The quality of your protein matters when it comes to keeping Type 2 diabetes at bay. If your red meat intake increases, chances of diabetes go up by 50% within four years. Even processed red meat is not a good idea; switching to lentils or nuts (or a quality protein supplement) is the way to go.
- Cancer: Making the right protein choice at a young age can reduce your chances of breast cancer. Again, red meat has been shown to increase the risk of colon cancer. Meat grilled at high temperature introduces cancer-provoking compounds into the meat. It’s always better to precook your meat in a pan before throwing it on a grill—sorry, grill lovers.
- Osteoporosis: The research is divided when it comes to protein intake and bone health. A really high-protein diet delivers acids to your bloodstreams that need to be countered by calcium. This, in turn, can lead to your body drawing calcium away from your bones. It’s all about striking the right balance when it comes to consuming protein-rich food.
- Weight Control: A study conducted over 20 years showed that a diet high in meat content led to increased weight. On the other hand, a daily serving of chickpeas or beans—also high in protein—helped participants control their weight more effectively.
Top protein supplements
There will come a time when you might need a dietary supplement to help your body get back on track. Used in the right manner, protein supplements coupled with a quality diet can make a massive difference.
- Hydro Whey 100 is a protein powder that is pure hydrolysate without any artificial preservatives. These protein particles are minute and thus easily absorbed by the body, making it one of the most efficient protein powders out there.
- A protein powder that contains no fat or sugar, and only 105 calories per serving, is always a good bet. The Rule 1 Protein is also popular because it contains glutamine, which accents growth hormones and improves protein metabolism.
- ISO HD contains the three vital branch-chain amino acids that boost muscle growth and improve endurance. By combining isolates and hydrolysates, ISO HD is easily a popular choice for those looking at upping their protein intake.
A good nutrition plan is as important as your workout session. For runners, a high-carb diet is in order. Depending on your needs, the level of protein in your body needs to be just right.
If you’re into lifting weights, a good protein shake is what you need. A 3-ounce portion of meat contains nearly 21 grams of protein and a 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt has 14 grams of protein. Balance your diet just right with dietary supplements and food sources of protein, and you’ll see the results in no time.