food · nutrition · sports nutrition · weight lifting

Want to keep muscle after 40?: Eat all the protein and lift all the things

A cricket protein bar
A cricket protein bar

Researchers at nearby MacMaster University set out to do a meta analysis in search of an answer to the question of whether protein consumption made a difference to ordinary adults over 40 who set out to gain muscle.

What’s nice, from this blog’s perspective, about the studies is that many of them included women.

Gretchen Reynolds wrote about their research in the New York Times.

Lift Weights, Eat More Protein, Especially if You’re Over 40

“They wound up with 49 high-quality past experiments that had studied a total of 1,863 people, including men and women, young and old, and experienced weight trainers as well as novices. The sources of the protein in the different studies had varied, as had the amounts and the times of day when people had downed them.

To answer the simplest question of whether taking in more protein during weight training led to larger increases in muscle size and strength, the researchers added all of the results together.And the answer was a resounding yes. Men and women who ate more protein while weight training did develop larger, stronger muscles than those who did not.”

How much protein? 1.6 grams per day per kilo of bodyweight. That’s well over the recommended daily amount of protein.

When? It didn’t matter when in the day people are the extra protein. So you don’t need to fuss about before or after workout or other special timing.

What kind of protein? That didn’t matter either. You can eat it in the form of animal protein or vegan protein. You can drink protein shakes. It’s all good.

See the scientific article here.

I haven’t tried the cricket protein bar just yet.

5 thoughts on “Want to keep muscle after 40?: Eat all the protein and lift all the things

  1. Holy cow! I did the math and that’s three times what my nutrition app recommends for protein every day, and I barely hit that goal. I would need to be pretty much stuffing protein powder and chicken breasts into my gullet all day long.

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    1. Hm. I went and looked at the PubMed article, and it says, “protein intakes at amounts greater than ~1.6 g/kg/day do not further contribute [resistance exercise training]-induced gains in [fat-free mass].” I take that to mean increasing your protein is good, but increasing it beyond that mark doesn’t do much anymore. So, up to 1.6g of protein per kg of fat-free mass per day is good if you are weight-training.

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      1. But less is no good either. What the study shows is that there’s a sweet spot and it’s higher than many of use thought

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