Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake, Sustainable Dietary Sources and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults

Nutrients. 2018 Mar 16;10(3):360. doi: 10.3390/nu10030360.


With an ageing population, dietary approaches to promote health and independence later in life are needed. In part, this can be achieved by maintaining muscle mass and strength as people age. New evidence suggests that current dietary recommendations for protein intake may be insufficient to achieve this goal and that individuals might benefit by increasing their intake and frequency of consumption of high-quality protein. However, the environmental effects of increasing animal-protein production are a concern, and alternative, more sustainable protein sources should be considered. Protein is known to be more satiating than other macronutrients, and it is unclear whether diets high in plant proteins affect the appetite of older adults as they should be recommended for individuals at risk of malnutrition. The review considers the protein needs of an ageing population (>40 years old), sustainable protein sources, appetite-related implications of diets high in plant proteins, and related areas for future research.

Keywords: ageing; appetite; older adults; plant proteins; protein; sarcopenia; sustainability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Appetite Regulation
  • Appetite*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Proteins / adverse effects
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Healthy Aging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Plant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances*
  • Sarcopenia / etiology
  • Sarcopenia / metabolism
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology
  • Sarcopenia / prevention & control


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Plant Proteins