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Eat To Grow: MRPs for the AARP

Grandma and Grandpa need plenty of protein, too.

According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the United States National Research Council, the current dietary protein recommendation for healthy men and women of all ages in the U.S. is .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. Therefore, a man who weighs 154 pounds, or 70 kilograms, needs only 56 grams of protein per day to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. Obviously, that’s a laughably small amount for most bodybuilders, and it now appears it should be a laughable recommendation for the elderly as well.

‘A large percentage of homebound elderly people consuming their habitual dietary protein intake’0.67 grams of mixed protein per kilogram of bodyweight’have been shown to be in negative nitrogen balance,’ says an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (60:501-509; 1994). ‘The consequences of consuming marginally low amounts of protein for elderly individuals isn’t known, but it’s been suggested that immunocompetence and recovery from illness and surgery may be compromised. On the basis of the current and recalculated short-term nitrogen-balance results, a safe recommended protein intake for elderly adults would be 1.0 to 1.25 grams of high-quality protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day.’

So an individual weighing 70 kilograms needs 70 to 87.5 grams of high-quality protein per day, not 56. Time to get those bodybuilding meal replacements into the hands’and stomachs’of our senior citizens. IM

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