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Adding more protein to your diet becomes critical as you age – KPRC Click2Houston

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It’s well understood that the American diet may contribute to many diseases including diabetes, dementia, and cancer.

New York Times best-selling author and Houston mom, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, is taking the nutrition world by storm and she said most health experts are focusing on the wrong health crisis.

“For the last 50 years, we’ve been hyper-focused on obesity. We don’t have an obesity epidemic. We have a midlife muscle crisis; and if we address skeletal muscle as the pinnacle of health and wellness, we can really begin to move the needle in a meaningful way for people,” Dr. Lyon explained.

Here’s how she explains what happens to muscle health through the decades of life.

30s

“When you are young, you are really driven by hormones. Whether it’s insulin growth hormone, your body relies less on your diet,” Dr. Lyon said. “As we age, there isn’t a magic number, but typically when you’re in your 20s and 30s and you’re still growing in some capacity, you are less reliant on your diet. Then as you stop growing up, the importance of the ratio switches.”

That switch is when, she says, your body becomes dependent on high-quality protein and exercise.

40s

“When you hit your forties… this really begins this idea of anabolic resistance, skeletal muscle, insulin resistance, just meaning that the muscle becomes less efficient at utilizing protein,” Lyon said. “The way that you overcome for this efficiency is you increase the amount at one time, which goes back to these 30 grams of protein.”

Lyon said aiming for about 30 grams of protein per meal and 90 grams a day or more is best for optimal health. This is a lot more protein than the recommended daily amount from the USDA. However, Lyon said the USDA calculations are simply the minimum amount to prevent deficiencies, not for optimal or improved health.

50s and beyond

To prevent aging difficulties after 50, like feeling weak, tired, and forgetful, Dr. Lyon suggests even more than 90 grams a day.

“Your body is constantly turning over, and it becomes less efficient every generation. We could all agree that, you know, we could maybe see it in our skin and our hair and our body. As you get older, you actually require more protein,” Lyon said.

What does 30 grams of protein look like?

  • Four ounces of chicken, beef or fish
  • A high protein shake or bar
  • Greek yogurt

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