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J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2019 Jan-Mar;38(1):50-68. doi: 10.1080/21551197.2018.1544533. Epub 2019 Feb 26.

Optimal Protein Intake during Weight Loss Interventions in Older Adults with Obesity.

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a The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth , Hanover , NH , USA.
b Department of Medicine , Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center , Lebanon , NH , USA.


Obesity rates in people 60 years and older are increasing. While obesity is linked with detrimental health risks, weight loss in this population has previously been considered controversial due to potential worsening of age-related sarcopenia. Protein intake during energy restriction has been linked to lean body mass preservation. No formal guidelines for optimal protein intake during structured weight loss interventions exist for this population, but it appears that the current Recommended Dietary Allowance of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day may be inadequate. The purpose of this review is to discuss optimal protein intake during structured weight loss interventions in persons 60 years and older with obesity and to present a framework for guidelines to be used by health professionals focusing on weight loss interventions in older adults. Goals for the amount, source, and timing of protein intake, from both food and supplements, are presented and discussed.


Protein; obesity; older adults; weight loss

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