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The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 673–680 | Cite as

Diet modeling in older Americans: The impact of increasing plant-based foods or dairy products on protein intake

  • Jenny A. HouchinsEmail author
  • C. J. Cifelli
  • E. Demmer
  • V. L. FulgoniIII
Article

Abstract

Objectives

To determine the effects of increasing plant-based foods or dairy products on protein intake in older Americans by performing diet modeling.

Design

Data from What We Eat in America (WWEIA), the dietary component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2007-2010 for Americans aged 51 years and older (n=5,389), divided as 51-70 years (n=3,513) and 71 years and older (n=1,876) were used.

Measurements

Usual protein intake was compared among three dietary models that increased intakes by 100%: (1) plant-based foods; (2) higher protein plant-based foods (i.e., legumes, nuts, seeds, soy); and (3) dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt). Models (1) and (2) had commensurate reductions in animal-based protein intake.

Results

Doubling intake of plant-based foods (as currently consumed) resulted in a drop of protein intake by approximately 22% for males and females aged 51+ years. For older males and females, aged 71+ years, doubling intake of plant-based foods (as currently consumed) resulted in an estimated usual intake of 0.83±0.02 g/kg ideal body weight (iBW))/day and 0.78±0.01 g/kg iBW/day, respectively. In this model, 33% of females aged 71+ years did not meet the estimated average requirement for protein. Doubling dairy product consumption achieved current protein intake recommendations.

Conclusion

These data illustrate that increasing plant-based foods and reducing animal-based products could have unintended consequences on protein intake of older Americans. Doubling dairy product intake can help older adults get to an intake level of approximately 1.2 g/kg iBW/day, consistent with the growing consensus that older adults need to consume higher levels of protein for health.

Key words

Aging muscle protein plant dairy 

Abbreviations

U.S.

United States

RDA

Recommended Dietary Allowance

NHANES

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

EAR

Estimated Average Requirement

WWEIA

What We Eat in America

NCI

National Cancer Institute

DRI

Dietary Reference Intake

USDA

United States Department of Agriculture

BW

body weight

iBW

ideal body weight

aBW

actual body weight

AMDR

Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range

DGA

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenny A. Houchins
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. J. Cifelli
    • 1
  • E. Demmer
    • 1
  • V. L. FulgoniIII
    • 2
  1. 1.National Dairy CouncilRosemontUSA
  2. 2.Nutrition ImpactLLCBattle CreekUSA

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