Question:

What percent of protein a day should seniors (over 65) be eating? I am female, if that makes a difference, and do cardio, weights, and yoga/Pilates classes.

– Carole H.

Answer:

Hello Carole, I’m hoping your question is about what percent of calories should come from protein.

Seniors should consume about 1.0 gm protein per kilogram of body weight daily. This is higher than the recommended 0.8 gm/kg for other healthy adults for two reasons: a greater need for maintaining lean mass and slightly diminished protein digestion/absorption. Since protein has 4 calories per gram, your requirement equates to a set number of calories, but the percentage this makes up of your total calories will depend on how many you take in.

If you were 130 pounds, you’d need (divide pounds by 2.2 to get kilograms) 59 grams of protein. These 236 calories would be 12% of a 2000 Calorie diet, but 20% of a 1200 calorie diet.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Sources:

Protein for Fitness: Age Demands Greater Protein Needs. Densie Webb. Today’s Dietitian. April 2015 Issue, Vol. 17 No. 4, P. 16

Seniors — Beef it up to prevent muscle loss. Jennifer K. Nelson. WebMD. May 1, 2015

 

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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