Recent studies suggest that in addition to the total amount of protein you consume, when you eat protein may also be important. Did you know that on average women over the age of 50 eat less than half of the recommended amount of protein for breakfast?1
Continuing our three-part series on protein for baby boomer women, Nestlé Health Science Global Nutritional Translator, Fariba Roughead, helps women over the age of 50 understand when to eat protein. One simple way to get enough protein for the day is to start with breakfast. Make sure your breakfast has a heavy dose of protein.
Spread your protein intake throughout the day
Recent studies suggest that in addition to the total amount of protein you consume, when you eat protein may also be important. Consuming protein at each meal may provide benefits compared to eating the majority of protein during one meal—for example, at dinner.
Returning to our protein factory analogy from our first article in this series, there are a limited number of machines in the factory that can turn protein into muscle at any one time. On average, however, women over the age of 50 eat less than half of the recommended amount of protein for breakfast.1
But loading up at dinner is not the answer, as a 2016 study published in the Journal of Nutrition2 found. This study looked at a group of older adults who were meeting their total protein needs, largely through their dinnertime consumption.
As part of the study, half of the people were then given protein supplements at breakfast and lunch, while the other half (the control group) received a placebo (maltodextrin) supplement with their normal meal. After 24 weeks, those receiving the protein supplement gained almost a pound, on average, of lean muscle mass, while those in the control group lost an average of more than a third of a pound of lean muscle mass.
Therefore, increasing protein intake at low-protein meals (breakfast and lunch) may benefit muscle health in people over the age of 50, even those who are already meeting recommendations for total protein intake.
Hungry for more?
Read our Five High Protein Breakfasts for Baby Boomer Women
Learn 10 Important Facts About Protein
- USDA. ARS. 2016. What We Eat In America, NHANES 2013-2014.
- Norton C, et al. Protein Supplementation at Breakfast and Lunch for 24 Weeks beyond Habitual Intakes Increases Whole-Body Lean Tissue Mass in Healthy Older Adults. J. Nutr. 2016; 146(1): 65-69.