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Insufficient amounts and inadequate distribution of dietary protein intake in apparently healthy older adults in a developing country: implications for dietary strategies to prevent sarcopenia

Authors Valenzuela RER, Ponce JA, Morales-Figueroa GG, Muro KA, Carreón VR, Alemán-Mateo H

Received 14 June 2013

Accepted for publication 10 July 2013

Published 2 September 2013 Volume 2013:8 Pages 1143—1148


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

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Roxana E Ruiz Valenzuela, José A Ponce, Gloria Guadalupe Morales-Figueroa, Karina Aguilar Muro, Virginia Ramírez Carreón, Heliodoro Alemán-Mateo

Nutrition and Metabolism Department, Division of Nutrition, Research Center for Food and Development, Hermosillo, Sonora, México

Background: Both low dietary protein intake and inadequate distribution of protein over the three mealtimes have been reported in older Caucasian adults, but the association between protein intake at each meal and muscle mass has not been studied. The purpose of this study was to evaluate dietary protein intake and distribution by mealtimes, and to explore their association with appendicular skeletal muscle mass in apparently healthy older adults.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional pilot study that included 78 people over the age of 60 years. Caloric and protein intake were estimated on the basis of three nonconsecutive 24-hour diet recalls and appendicular skeletal muscle mass by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Results: Men consumed 13.4 g of protein/day more than women (P < 0.05). The estimated value of dietary protein intake was 0.9 g/kg/day. In this sample, 28% of subjects did not cover 100% of the dietary reference intake for protein. Lower consumption of dietary protein was found at breakfast and dinnertime compared with the recommended amount of 25–30 g (P < 0.05). Also, the study observed that appendicular skeletal muscle mass in men and women who consumed <25 g of protein at each mealtime was different from that found in the group that consumed >25 g of protein at one, two, or three mealtimes.
Conclusion: While protein intake was higher than current recommendations, it failed to achieve the values reported as necessary to prevent sarcopenia. In addition, there was under-consumption of protein per mealtime, especially at breakfast and dinner.

Keywords: dietary protein intake, older adults, appendicular skeletal muscle mass

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