, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 784-790
Date: 12 Jan 2013

Dietary protein and beef consumption predict for markers of muscle mass and nutrition status in older adults

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To determine the relationship of beef and protein intake to nutrition status, body composition, strength, and biochemical measures of vitamin and mineral status, inflammation and blood lipids in older adults.


Cross-sectional observational study.


State of Ohio, U.S A.


142 adults ages 60–88.


Subjects completed a Diet History Questionnaire, and questionnaires related to nutrition status and activity. Subjects also underwent measurements of body composition and strength, and a subset took part in a blood draw for biochemical measurements.


Beef intake (g/d) was positively correlated to muscle mass measured by mid-arm muscle area (R=0.128, p=0.030). From multiple linear regression analysis, a loz/d (∼28g/d) increase in beef consumption predicts for a 2.3cm2 increase in mid-arm muscle area. Beef intake was negatively correlated to total (R=−0.179, p=0.035) and HDL (R=−0.247, p=0.004) cholesterol, and there was no association between beef and LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, liver enzymes, or inflammatory markers. Protein intake (% of total energy) was positively correlated to nutrition status measured by the Mini Nutrition Assessment (R=0.196, p=0.020), and calf circumference (R=0.190, p=0.024), and these correlations remained when potential confounders were accounted for in multiple linear regression models. Protein intake was also positively correlated with BMI when analyzed with multiple linear regression.


Beef intake was positively associated with mid-arm muscle area, and protein intake was positively associated with nutrition status, calf circumference, and BMI in older adults. Consuming lean cuts of beef in moderation may be a healthy way in which older adults can increase protein intake, preserve muscle mass and improve nutrition status.