Aging Women and Protein Intake
From the day you are born until age 30, you can increase muscle mass through growth, exercise, and a good diet. But at some point past 30 years of age, you begin to lose muscle mass – this is called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia happens to everyone but it seems to affect women more drastically. Women represent about 50% of the population and most of these women are over 35 years of age. The healthcare costs associated with sarcopenia will likely to increase as women age more and more.
Studies have shown that increasing your protein intake above the recommended daily allowance (RDA) can help prevent or dimish sarcopenia. In addition, recent analysis suggests that eating vegetable-based proteins can reduce the risk of early menopause. Weight loss (due to loss in muscle mass) increases as you enter menopause.
Studies of 387 healthy, postmenopausal women show that eating more protein than the recommended daily allowance (0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight) suggests that more protein results in a better “lean-to-fat” mass ratio. Women who ate more protein also had stronger arms and legs as compared to the women who ate less than the recommended daily allowance.
Six additional studies also show that as adults age, increasing protein intake prevents muscle loss: a new recommendation of 1.0 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight seems to reduce sarcopenia, age-related muscle loss. This means, if you weigh 150lbs, you should eat somewhere between 82 to 102 grams of protein. Evidence over the years support that vegan protein and plant protein is best.
In 2017, a University of Massachusetts Amherst study shows that vegan protein prolongs premenopausal period and that consuming more protein reduces sarcopenia. Women should incorporate vegan protein into their diet because it is better for your body and better for the planet. Tonight, consider changing an animal-based meal with a salad with some nuts, lentils or split pea soup.