Dietary protein in older adults: adequate daily intake but potential for improved distribution

Danielle Cardon-Thomas, Timothy Riviere, Zoe Tieges, Carolyn Greig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Daily distribution of dietary protein may be important in protecting against sarcopenia, specifically in terms of per meal amounts relative to a proposed threshold for maximal response. The aims of this study were to determine total and per meal protein intake in older adults, as well as identifying associations with physical activity and sedentary behavior. Three-day food diaries recorded protein intake in 38 participants. Protein distribution, coefficient of variation (CV), and per meal amounts were calculated. Accelerometry was used to collect physical activity data as well as volume and patterns of sedentary time. Average intake was 1.14 g·kg-1·day-1. Distribution was uneven (CV = 0.67), and 79% of participants reported <0.4 g·kg-1 protein content in at least 2/3 daily meals. Protein intake was significantly correlated with step count (r = 0.439, p = 0.007) and negatively correlated with sedentary time (r = -0.456, p = 0.005) and Gini index G, which describes the pattern of accumulation of sedentary time (r = -0.421, p = 0.011). Total daily protein intake was sufficient; however, distribution did not align with the current literature; increasing protein intake may help to facilitate optimization of distribution. Associations between protein and other risk factors for sarcopenia may also inform protective strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2017


  • Ageing
  • Physical activity
  • Protein distribution
  • Protein intake
  • Sarcopenia
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Aged
  • Sarcopenia/diet therapy
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Meals
  • Dietary Proteins/administration & dosage
  • Sedentary Behavior


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