A new study published by the University of Mississippi and McMaster University has found that adults should be eating significantly more protein than current national health guidelines recommend.
Researchers suggest that adults should try to consume 30 to 45 grams of protein at least twice per day. One researcher even suggested eating this amount of protein anywhere from three to five times per day.
While this seems like a gigantic amount of protein, researcher Stuart Phillips from McMaster University stated that the more often a person consumes this dose of protein, the more their muscle retention and muscle strength increases, particularly in the leg muscles.
This information is based on research collected 1999 to 2002 which studied 1,081 adult Americans ranging in age from 50 to 85.
Researchers focused on the relationship between the participants’ leg strength and their protein consumption. A positive correlation was discovered between the amount of protein eaten in multiple meals and leg muscle mass and strength.
Though this deduction may seem obvious, the findings are significant because the dose of protein required is far beyond current national health recommendations. For example, the standard recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein for a man weighing 174 lbs is 64 grams of protein. However, Phillips suggests increasing this amount to between 90 and 135 grams of protein, consumed throughout three meals.
Phillips also said that his recommended diet could be followed using animal-based protein or plant-based protein. The main takeaway is focused more on the distribution of the daily protein consumption. The study suggests increasing protein intake, but benefits are far greater when the protein is evenly divided among a person’s daily meals.
The study’s diet can be used by people of any age, but is of particular importance for older adults. Adults begin to lose muscle mass in their forties and fifties, so adopting this high-protein diet could help prevent this loss.
People who do not exercise and have sedentary lifestyles experience this muscle deterioration much sooner. The best course of action is to take a preemptive strike and begin increasing your protein intake as soon as possible.
However, Phillips warned that many high-protein foods also contain high counts of carbohydrates and fiber. He suggested monitoring the nutritional value of your protein sources and doing your best to keep a healthy, balanced diet.