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The effects of dietary protein intake on appendicular lean mass and muscle function in elderly men: a 10-wk randomized controlled trial

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 15:04 authored by Cameron Mitchell, Amber MilanAmber Milan, Sarah Mitchell, Nina Zeng, Farha Ramzan, Pankaja Sharma, Scott KnowlesScott Knowles, Nicole Roy, Anders Sjodin, Karl-Heinz Wagner, David Cameron-Smith
Background: The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein intake in the adult population iswidely promoted as 0.8 g kg-1 d-1. Aging may increase protein requirements, particularly to maintain muscle mass. Objective: We investigated whether controlled protein consumption at the current RDA or twice the RDA (2RDA) affects skeletal muscle mass and physical function in elderly men. Design: In this parallel-group randomized trial, 29 men aged >70 y [mean ± SD body mass index (in kg/m2): 28.3 ± 4.2] were provided with a complete diet containing either 0.8 (RDA) or 1.6 (2RDA) g protein kg-1 d-1, aimed to balance energy needs. Before treatment and after 10 wk of intervention, whole-body and appendicular lean mass were measured by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Knee-extension peak power was measured with dynamometry. Results: Both groups were found to have been in a moderate negative energy balance (mean ± SD RDA: 209 ± 213 kcal/d; 2RDA 145 ± 214 kcal/d; P=0.427 for difference between the groups). In comparison with RDA, whole-body lean mass increased in 2RDA (P = 0.001; 1.49 ± 1.30 kg, P < 0.001 compared with -0.55 ± 1.49 kg, P = 0.149). This difference was mostly accounted for by an increase in trunk lean mass found in 2RDA (+1.39 ± 1.09 kg, P < 0.001). Appendicular lean mass also decreased in RDA compared with 2RDA (P = 0.022), driven by a reduction in RDA (<0.64 ± 0.91 kg, P = 0.005 compared with 0.11 ± 0.57 kg, P = 0.592). Adjusting for energy imbalances did not alter these findings. Knee-extension peak power was also differently affected (P = 0.012; 26.6 ± 47.7 W, P = 0.015 in 2RDA compared with -11.7 ± 31.0 W, P = 0.180 in RDA). Conclusions: Consumption of a diet providing 2RDA for protein compared with the current guidelines was found to have beneficial effects on lean body mass and leg power in elderly men. These effects were not explained by differences in energy balance. This trial was registered at the Australia New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry ( as ACTRN12616000310460.


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© 2017 American Society for Nutrition


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

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Oxford university Press

Journal title

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition




Mitchell, C. J., Milan, A. M., Mitchell, S. M., Zeng, N., Ramzan, F., Sharma, P., Knowles, S. O., Roy, N. C., Sjödin, A., Wagner, K-H., & Cameron-Smith, D. (2017). The effects of dietary protein intake on appendicular lean mass and muscle function in elderly men: a 10-wk randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 106(6), 1375–1383. doi:10.3945/ajcn.117.160325

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