Current dietary protein recommendations need updating

New research based on modern techniques suggests that recommendations for protein intake in healthy populations may be incorrect. In a paper just published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, an NRC Research Press journal (a division of Canadian Science Publishing), researchers put the focus on protein as an essential component of a healthy diet. Protein helps people stay full longer, preserve muscle mass, and when combined with adequate physical activity, has the potential to serve as a key nutrient for important health outcomes and benefits.

It’s not only how much protein you eat, it’s the type of protein that is important.

Most protein-rich foods are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Choosing the right type of protein, within the bounds of Canada’s Food Guide, will lead to an overall healthy diet. This new research suggests that including a moderate amount of high-quality protein at each meal may offer an effective strategy for optimising muscle protein synthesis and potentially protecting muscle mass. “The message of protein at each meal in moderation is a paradigm shift from the typical nonspecific default recommendation of a large, global increase in protein intake for populations actively seeking to increase or maintain muscle mass and function” says co-author of the study, Dr. Rajavel Elango, Scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia. “It is important that individuals and policy makers alike are aware of the advances in dietary protein research technology that aid in making healthy dietary choices”.

New research based on modern techniques suggests updates to recommendations may be needed.

Recommendations for protein intake in healthy populations are based on older techniques. Current dietary protein recommendations may not be sufficient to promote optimal muscle health in all populations, especially aging populations, which are prone to muscle loss. The research published today in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism provides an overview of recent developments in research that are aimed at defining protein requirements.

Protein continues to be the right choice for weight loss management.

Current dietary protein recommendations need updating Promoting healthy protein choices combined with physical activity is an essential approach as policy makers attempt to control the obesity epidemic. In weight loss management, adequate protein (while ensuring that caloric intake is within a healthy range) has been shown to preserve muscle mass without gain in fat mass.

Findings of this study are particularly important as they apply across the life-cycle; this is reinforced as protein is needed to make new tissues during periods of growth and development.


Visit the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism website to read the full study.

The paper “Protein: A nutrient in focus” by Emily Arentson-Lantz, Stephanie Clairmont, Douglas Paddon-Jones, Angelo Tremblay, and Rajavel Elango was published today in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.


Please cite Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism as the source of this story and include a hyperlink to the research study:


Rebecca Ross

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