Is it time to revisit the current protein recommendations?

June 17, 2008,

Current protein recommendations were established with the goal of preventing deficiency, but newer research indicates that many adults may benefit from eating more than the minimum requirement. These findings are presented in a supplement in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition describing the conclusions of a Protein Summit held last spring, which brought together the world's leading scientists in protein research.

The summit's attendees report in the supplement that eating a higher protein diet - still within the recommended range, but toward the top of it - may play a role in optimal health, as higher protein diets are linked with a lower risk for many health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis as well as sarcopenia, the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength.

The current U.S. recommendation according to the Institute of Medicine is that adults should consume between ten and 35 percent of their calories from protein. The summit participants said that many adults, such as those who are overweight or obese and older Americans may benefit from eating up to 35 percent of their calories from protein.

The summit's conclusions complement examination of evidence by the International Dietary Energy Consultancy Group (IDECG), World Health Organization/Food and Agricultural Organization and Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) panel, which has determined that there is either a benefit or no harm with protein intakes three to four times the minimum requirement. This means that adults can safely eat up to 35 percent of their total calories as protein, and there may be some health benefits in doing so. Since most Americans are consuming protein in the lower end of this range (about 13-16 percent), there is room for adding more high-quality protein to their diets while still being in the recommended range outlined as safe.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans do not specifically address protein as a required nutrient, and summit participants agreed that greater focus and attention to protein should be given in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines in light of grounded science supporting protein's role in disease prevention and emerging research supporting its role in optimal health.

How to Get More Protein - and the Best Kind

Protein supports growth and repair of muscle, bone and other body tissues and can help to promote satiety. While looking for protein choices, it's important to know that animal sources of protein, such as dairy, meat, eggs, poultry and fish, are defined as high-quality or "complete" proteins because they contain the right proportion of amino acids essential for the body's functioning. One easy way to increase protein intake - and high-quality protein intake at that - is to eat the recommended 3 servings or more of dairy products like milk, cheese or yogurt each day.

"Taking simple steps such as choosing a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk at a meal, or eating a piece of low-fat cheese with fruit as a snack, will help increase protein in the diet which may lead to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis." said Greg Miller, Ph.D., M.A.C.N., executive vice president of research, regulatory and scientific affairs at the National Dairy Council® and Protein Summit participant.

In addition to protein, nutrient-rich dairy foods contain eight other essential nutrients including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin (niacin equivalents). The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products each day and recognize that people who consume more dairy foods have better overall diets, consume more nutrients and have improved bone health. Additionally, the U.S. Surgeon General recommends consuming 3 daily servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, and the National Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend consuming 3 to 4 daily servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods.

Source: Edelman Public Relations

Explore further: Here's to a healthy pregnancy

Related Stories

Here's to a healthy pregnancy

February 15, 2018
(HealthDay)—Take good prenatal care of yourself and not only will you have a healthier baby, you'll also lower his or her risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease later in life.

Diet may influence the spread of a deadly type of breast cancer, study finds

February 7, 2018
A single protein building block commonly found in food may hold a key to preventing the spread of an often-deadly type of breast cancer, according to a new multicenter study published today in the medical journal Nature.

What's your best diet for 2018? Experts rate them

January 3, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your New Year's resolution diet should be based on a well-balanced eating plan that fits your lifestyle, rather than a weird fad replete with food restrictions.

Foods rich in protein, dairy products help dieters preserve muscle and lose belly fat: study

August 29, 2011
New research suggests a higher-protein, lower-carbohydrate energy-restricted diet has a major positive impact on body composition, trimming belly fat and increasing lean muscle, particularly when the proteins come from dairy ...

Eating dairy cheese may protect against sodium-related health risks

November 1, 2016
Consuming dairy cheese instead of other sodium-laden foods may actually protect against some of sodium's effects on the cardiovascular system, such as high blood pressure, according to researchers at Penn State.

Protein quality: Research shows the superiority of whey protein

November 15, 2013
As science continues to support the role of protein in building and maintaining lean muscle, maintaining weight and aging healthy, consumers are embracing the important role of protein in the diet. But not all proteins are ...

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.