Be concerned!

Many older people are dying far earlier than they need. – Be even more concerned, that their latter years will have been bedevilled with ill health. All of which could have been easily prevented, so why isn’t something done about it.

People over the age of fifty need more protein in their diet than they did when they were younger, but they are not being told this. More importantly, they are not being told how much protein they do need in their diet.

As we get older, we tend to need fewer calories, so we eat less. Mostly we have the same meals we have always enjoyed, but with slightly smaller portions. We get fewer calories, which is what we want, but we also get less protein, and this is not what is needed. As we get older, we digest protein less efficiently than we did, which means we need more protein in our diet, not less.

HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD WE HAVE EACH DAY?

In the USA and Canada, it is recommended that adults should have 0.8g of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight per day. There are many experts who believe this is too low, and only suitable for sedentary people. In the UK we are advised to have 0.75g of protein for every kg of bodyweight per day. For the purposes of this article it was decided to take the higher recommendation as being suitable for sedentary people up to fifty years old. This has been increased by 10% for people who are moderately active, and by 20% for people who are engaged in manual work, or are training for an active sport. People involved in extreme sports may be recommended significantly higher protein intakes by their trainers.

Table to calculate the daily protein requirement

Modified from a table in Nutrition for the over fifties.

 

Protein Factor
Age (yrs) Sedentary Light
activity
Moderate
activity
20-50
51-55
56-60
61-65
0.80
0.83
0.89
0.96
0.88
0.92
0.98
1.05
0.96
1.00
1.07
1.15
66-70
71-75
76-80
81-85
1.02
1.10
1.18
1.26
1.13
1.21
1.30
1.39
1.23
1.32
1.42
1.52
86-90
91-95
96-100
100 +
1.35
1.45
1.56
1.67
1.49
1.60
1.71
1.83
1.63
1.74
1.84
2.00

How to use the table

Decide which column suits how active you are.
Find the number that matches your age. This is your protein factor.
Multiply your weight in kilograms by your protein factor.
The result is how many grams of protein you need each day.

EXAMPLE

An eighty-year-old woman who has light activity weighs sixty-three kilograms.
Her protein factor is 1.30.
63 x 1.30 = 81.9

It is recommended that she has 82g of protein per day.

The aim of this system is to provide sufficient protein for most people not to suffer from protein deficiency. Even so, it is wise to know the symptoms of protein deficiency

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PROTEIN DEFICIENCY?

An early symptom of protein deficiency is pain in the joints, especially the knees.

Another early symptom is needing more sleep than when younger.

A more serious symptom is a loss of appetite. This is serious because eating less is likely to increase the severity of the deficiency. In severe cases it can result in ‘unintentional weight loss’, which is a progressive condition that can be difficult to overcome.

The wasting away of muscles. The early signs that this is happening is being unsteady when standing, being prone to falls, and even having difficulty opening jars. If not treated, the person will become increasingly weak, and frail. Their back becomes hunched over and they have difficulty walking, even with a Zimmer frame. They continue getting weaker, and it can eventually be fatal. The good news is that with sufficient protein in the diet, and exercise, the muscles can be rebuilt, even with people in their nineties.

The nerves stop functioning properly, this may result in an inability to control movements properly. They may become forgetful, and eventually develop dementia.

A lack of protein causes thin flaking skin that bruises easily and only recovers from injury, very slowly.

There is a tendency to become prone to getting various diseases, and be slow to recover from them.

There is an increased likelihood of having various other problems such as heart attacks, strokes, weak bones, and anaemia.

Don’t expect to have all these symptoms, two or three are enough to suspect there could be a shortage of protein in the diet. But it must be remembered that these symptoms can be caused by other problems. For example, a shortage of iron can cause anaemia, and too little calcium can cause osteoporosis.
The symptoms, listed above are often, wrongly, attributed to old age, and are therefore underdiagnosed.
It’s a worry that protein deficiency is underdiagnosed, because if it is not treated, it can become debilitating, and even fatal. When if it had been treated early, the symptoms could be reversed.

Words of caution.

Some conditions require more dietary protein than is recommended by the table. For example, Crohn’s disease. Some other conditions may require less protein in the diet. The amounts of protein recommended here are believed to be the best advice available, for the majority of people. In view of the anomalies suggested above, you are here recommended to consult your doctor, or a qualified nutritionist before changing your diet. Please note that people who run health clubs are not normally trained to give this sort of nutritional advice.
A final word of caution. The recommended amount of protein is likely to be enough for a large majority of people. Having more than is recommended is unlikely to be beneficial. Be sensible, and don’t get over enthusiastic about taking extra protein. Just make sure you get enough – not too much, not too little.

NUTRITION FOR THE OVER FIFTES, by Ian Andrews.
Pub. Hannaford’s Innovative Press, ISBN 978-1-9999938-0-1

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Ian Andrews

Ian says
It was many years ago that I, and my family, were worried about how little my mother was eating. I used to visit her every weekend and take specially cooked meals she could take from her freezer, and microwave. She never used them. Eventually she had a so-called ‘mini stroke’. There was nothing ‘mini’ about that TIA. She was seriously underweight, her skin looked transparent, her biceps were about the size of a cocktail sausage, she was confused, and was refusing to eat the hospital food. I was told they would not try to keep her alive if she had a turn for the worse, and she was duly classified as DNR (Do Not Resuscitate),
I made up my mind she was not going to have a turn for the worse, if I could do anything about it. I visited her each day in hospital, with food that was appropriate for her.
She was in hospital for nearly six months. After the first three months they realized she was not going to die, and started giving her physiotherapy. Eventually, she was strong enough to be allowed home. My wife and I moved her into a bungalow to be near us. She was self-sufficient as long as I continued caring for her, every day. With good food and a healthy lifestyle, she regained her strength. She rebuilt her muscles, stopped being confused, and developed a more positive attitude to life than she had ever had before. It brought a tear to my eye when she told me she had never felt better. Mum died at the age of ninety-five, having had an extra six years of full and active old age.
When I first started caring for Mum, I looked for books that would help me give her the diet she needed. I found none. Fortunately, I had studied applied biology and biochemistry to degree level and beyond, and I had an MSc in biotechnology. I consulted original research papers, and through them, I came to realize there was a lot that was not known about the diets of older people. I also found there were some important things that were known, but were not being made available to the general public.
I felt that everything I had found, and the strategies I had developed needed to be collected together as a book. At last, after many years, that book has been completed. At present, it is only available by ordering from this site. I hope it will become soon become more widely known, so as to help people live longer, healthier lives.

A Quick Peak Into A Few Chapters of "Nutrition for the Over Fifties"

  • Chapter 2

    About You

    This book has been written mainly for people over fifty.
    Up to now there have been no books on nutrition suitable
    for our age group. We are the neglected generation.
    The key to good health is knowing your body, what it
    needs and how to get it. This book has a down-to-earth
    approach to our needs. There are no faddy diets. There
    are no secret ingredients that will give us 'eternal life'. It
    won't make us something we're not, but, it will help to
    make us the best we can be. And it will do this by taking
    an objective look at our food, what we need and how our
    needs change with age.
    Our nutritional needs are many and varied. A deficiency
    in anyone of them, can cause ill-health. Some
    deficiencies will result in major problems, even death.
    As we get older, we tend to eat less, and what we do
    eat is digested less efficiently. Because of this, the older
    we become, the more likely we are to have nutritional
    deficiencies. It's my belief that these deficiencies are
    under-diagnosed, and often mistaken for signs of old age.
    Sadly, this results in ill health, and sometimes premature
    death.
    It is not just our digestive' system that changes as we
    get older. There are many other changes we need to
    consider.
    Muscles and Age
    Most people stop growing taller by the age of twenty but
    their bodies continue to develop and change. Most of us
    are leanest and fittest in our early twenties. People with
    active lives, will usually stay fitter longer, but in time,

  • Chapter 4

    Five-A-Day

    Back in the 1980's it was reported that people who had
    more fruits and vegetables in their diet had a much lower
    chance of having strokes, heart attacks, or cancer. Since
    then, further research has shown that there are more
    than sixty other diseases that can be added to the list.
    Some of them are major health problems, including,
    Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, Parkinson's disease,
    thrombosis, asthma, retinitis, kidney and liver disorders.
    These findings lead to the idea of five-a-day, a concept
    that was promoted by no less a body than lthe World
    Health Organization. It. became one of the most
    successful advertising campaigns of all time. It went
    global. The basic idea was that everybody should have
    five portions of fruit and vegetables, every day. The size
    of a portion was recommended to be 80g.
    When the idea of five-a-day was first proposed it rang
    warning bells for me. Five, 80g portions of fruit and
    vegetables, every day amounts to 400g of fruits and
    vegetables. But that was irrespective of how big or small
    we were. It was another of those one-size-fits-all.
    approaches to nutrition. 400g is not a large amount for a
    big lad like me, but it was a lot for my seven-stone
    mother. .
    There was another problem for me. An important part
    of the five-a-day advice was that we should have a
    variety of fruit and vegetables, but there was no advice
    about which fruits and vegetables we should choose,
    other than we should choose variously coloured foods.
    There are at least five important things we get from
    fruit and vegetables: fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein,

    Duis aliquet orci eget nunc commodo imperdiet ac id justo. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Vivamus ante elit, maximus vitae augue in, fermentum condimentum turpis. Quisque fermentum purus eu sem laoreet aliquam. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut at leo placerat.

    Ipsum vitae, mattis est. Vivamus vel placerat nibh. Aliquam ipsum lorem, pretium dictum gravida nec, blandit id nunc. Sed dictum eget dui vitae finibus. Mauris egestas viverra est, porttitor blandit est semper et...

  • Chapter 9

    Weight

    We may become a little less active in our thirties, and we
    may gain a little extra weight. This escalates in our
    forties and by the time we are fifty most of us will have
    put on a few extra pounds (or extra stones). That extra
    weight is mostly caused by excess fat.
    Weight gain may continue into our fifties, but hopefully
    it will become a little slower. By the sixties the weight
    gain can have slowed quite considerably, though some
    people are much more prone to weight gain than others. ..
    By our seventies, some people might notice. a small
    weight loss. A small weight loss at this age is not a major
    concern. However, there is a type of weight loss, called
    ``unintentional weight loss', which 'we should take care to
    avoid. Anyone who loses more than three per cent of
    their body weight in six months, without deliberately
    dieting, should make sure it does not continue. Three per
    cent weight loss is four pounds for someone who weighs
    ten stone, or six pounds for a fifteen-stone person. A
    fifteen-stone person would lose nearly a stone in a 'year.
    To check for unintentional weight loss, weigh yourself
    at least once a week, and keep a record of your weights.
    If you are not trying to lose weight, you don't want to see
    a downward trend. Unintentional weight loss is serious
    because it is not just fat that is lost. If it were, most of us
    would be welcoming it. It is the loss of important tissues,
    like muscles that is of concern. In the early stages it's not
    a major problem but if nothing is done about it, it can
    escalate, and the whole body could become seriously
    depleted. If it has not progressed too far it can be

  • Chapter 13

    Being Active

    This book is primarily aimed at people who have had their
    fiftieth birthday. What a varied group we are: wide ranges
    of age, size, health, and interests. No way can I suggest
    exercises that will be suitable for everyone. But there are
    a few general principles to be made. Firstly, there are
    two main types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic.
    AEROBIC ACTIVITIES
    Let's consider aerobic 'activities' rather than 'exercises'.
    To my mind, exercises can be repetitious and may only
    strengthen certain chosen muscles. Activities are things
    you want to do. The best ones do more than exercise the
    muscles, they develop reflexes, improve balance and
    keep us flexible. They also exercise the mind. They could
    be any of a variety of activities, gardening, dancing,
    playing table tennis or anything you enjoy that is active.
    An aerobic activity should raise the heart rate a little
    and make the breathing a little faster but not be
    exhausting, or leave one gasping for breath. Choose
    things you can do without needing to stop for frequent
    rests. '
    The best activities are ones we are happy to build into
    our lives. If you choose an activity you enjoy, perhaps
    dancing, you might be happy doing it for hours each day
    and that's great news for your body's health. Choose
    things that make your life more enjoyable. Life is sweet.
    The classic aerobic activity is walking. A good walk
    should stimulate the mind. When I was younger I enjoyed
    walking long distances, looking at nature. For me, going

Chapter 2

About You

This book has been written mainly for people over fifty.
Up to now there have been no books on nutrition suitable
for our age group. We are the neglected generation.
The key to good health is knowing your body, what it
needs and how to get it. This book has a down-to-earth
approach to our needs. There are no faddy diets. There
are no secret ingredients that will give us 'eternal life'. It
won't make us something we're not, but, it will help to
make us the best we can be. And it will do this by taking
an objective look at our food, what we need and how our
needs change with age.
Our nutritional needs are many and varied. A deficiency
in anyone of them, can cause ill-health. Some
deficiencies will result in major problems, even death.
As we get older, we tend to eat less, and what we do
eat is digested less efficiently. Because of this, the older
we become, the more likely we are to have nutritional
deficiencies. It's my belief that these deficiencies are
under-diagnosed, and often mistaken for signs of old age.
Sadly, this results in ill health, and sometimes premature
death.
It is not just our digestive' system that changes as we
get older. There are many other changes we need to
consider.
Muscles and Age
Most people stop growing taller by the age of twenty but
their bodies continue to develop and change. Most of us
are leanest and fittest in our early twenties. People with
active lives, will usually stay fitter longer, but in time,

Chapter 4

Five-A-Day

Back in the 1980's it was reported that people who had
more fruits and vegetables in their diet had a much lower
chance of having strokes, heart attacks, or cancer. Since
then, further research has shown that there are more
than sixty other diseases that can be added to the list.
Some of them are major health problems, including,
Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, Parkinson's disease,
thrombosis, asthma, retinitis, kidney and liver disorders.
These findings lead to the idea of five-a-day, a concept
that was promoted by no less a body than lthe World
Health Organization. It. became one of the most
successful advertising campaigns of all time. It went
global. The basic idea was that everybody should have
five portions of fruit and vegetables, every day. The size
of a portion was recommended to be 80g.
When the idea of five-a-day was first proposed it rang
warning bells for me. Five, 80g portions of fruit and
vegetables, every day amounts to 400g of fruits and
vegetables. But that was irrespective of how big or small
we were. It was another of those one-size-fits-all.
approaches to nutrition. 400g is not a large amount for a
big lad like me, but it was a lot for my seven-stone
mother. .
There was another problem for me. An important part
of the five-a-day advice was that we should have a
variety of fruit and vegetables, but there was no advice
about which fruits and vegetables we should choose,
other than we should choose variously coloured foods.
There are at least five important things we get from
fruit and vegetables: fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein,

Duis aliquet orci eget nunc commodo imperdiet ac id justo. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Vivamus ante elit, maximus vitae augue in, fermentum condimentum turpis. Quisque fermentum purus eu sem laoreet aliquam. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut at leo placerat.

Ipsum vitae, mattis est. Vivamus vel placerat nibh. Aliquam ipsum lorem, pretium dictum gravida nec, blandit id nunc. Sed dictum eget dui vitae finibus. Mauris egestas viverra est, porttitor blandit est semper et...

Chapter 9

Weight

We may become a little less active in our thirties, and we
may gain a little extra weight. This escalates in our
forties and by the time we are fifty most of us will have
put on a few extra pounds (or extra stones). That extra
weight is mostly caused by excess fat.
Weight gain may continue into our fifties, but hopefully
it will become a little slower. By the sixties the weight
gain can have slowed quite considerably, though some
people are much more prone to weight gain than others. ..
By our seventies, some people might notice. a small
weight loss. A small weight loss at this age is not a major
concern. However, there is a type of weight loss, called
``unintentional weight loss', which 'we should take care to
avoid. Anyone who loses more than three per cent of
their body weight in six months, without deliberately
dieting, should make sure it does not continue. Three per
cent weight loss is four pounds for someone who weighs
ten stone, or six pounds for a fifteen-stone person. A
fifteen-stone person would lose nearly a stone in a 'year.
To check for unintentional weight loss, weigh yourself
at least once a week, and keep a record of your weights.
If you are not trying to lose weight, you don't want to see
a downward trend. Unintentional weight loss is serious
because it is not just fat that is lost. If it were, most of us
would be welcoming it. It is the loss of important tissues,
like muscles that is of concern. In the early stages it's not
a major problem but if nothing is done about it, it can
escalate, and the whole body could become seriously
depleted. If it has not progressed too far it can be

Chapter 13

Being Active

This book is primarily aimed at people who have had their
fiftieth birthday. What a varied group we are: wide ranges
of age, size, health, and interests. No way can I suggest
exercises that will be suitable for everyone. But there are
a few general principles to be made. Firstly, there are
two main types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic.
AEROBIC ACTIVITIES
Let's consider aerobic 'activities' rather than 'exercises'.
To my mind, exercises can be repetitious and may only
strengthen certain chosen muscles. Activities are things
you want to do. The best ones do more than exercise the
muscles, they develop reflexes, improve balance and
keep us flexible. They also exercise the mind. They could
be any of a variety of activities, gardening, dancing,
playing table tennis or anything you enjoy that is active.
An aerobic activity should raise the heart rate a little
and make the breathing a little faster but not be
exhausting, or leave one gasping for breath. Choose
things you can do without needing to stop for frequent
rests. '
The best activities are ones we are happy to build into
our lives. If you choose an activity you enjoy, perhaps
dancing, you might be happy doing it for hours each day
and that's great news for your body's health. Choose
things that make your life more enjoyable. Life is sweet.
The classic aerobic activity is walking. A good walk
should stimulate the mind. When I was younger I enjoyed
walking long distances, looking at nature. For me, going

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