• Help Meet Expanding Needs for Senior Health

    By Terri Rexroat November 16, 2016

    SeniorHealthPhoto.jpgThe number of consumers older than 64 is increasing at a high rate, causing food and beverage brands to reconsider their target audiences. By 2060, the population is predicted to contain 98 million seniors, which is more than twice the number in 2014.1 This growth, and the longing for greater independence late in life, makes addressing the health and wellness needs of seniors a factor for new, successful innovations.

    One of the easiest ways to appeal to seniors is using U.S. dairy protein. These proteins can assist aging consumers with prolonging muscle health and combating chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, when consumed in recommended amounts throughout the day.

    The effect of dairy proteins on muscle health

    A part of healthy aging is maintaining muscle mass, strength and functionality. Poor muscle health can lead to a decrease in mobility, and sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle and function, is commonly the culprit. Approximately 3 to 8% of lean muscle mass is lost per decade after the age of 30 due to sarcopenia. It can affect more than 20% of people in their 60s and 70s and nearly 50% over the age of 80. Inadequate dietary protein intake and lack of exercise can increase this percentage even further.

    Research shows that the effects of sarcopenia can be reduced by consuming high-quality protein to maximize muscle protein synthesis. It is recommended that seniors consume 20 to 30 grams of high-quality protein per meal and 40 grams after resistance exercise. However, there is a limit to how much protein the body can use at one time, so it’s important to consume the nutrient evenly throughout the day.

    To help seniors achieve this recommendation, formulators can introduce a wider choice of foods and beverages containing dairy proteins. Whey protein is proven to be one of the best sources of high-quality protein, due to its fast digestibility rate and presence of branched-chain amino acids especially leucine. Leucine allows whey protein to rapidly stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

    It’s easy to add more protein to snack-able products using whey protein. Products like Greek yogurt topped with nuts and fruit, fruit smoothies that contains whey protein, energy bars made with milk or whey protein and whey protein stirred into soups, oatmeal or pudding all offer good opportunities to increase protein consumption throughout the day. For example, the chai protein pudding found within the formula database on ThinkUSAdairy, stands out as having 14g of protein, being portable and having a rich soothing finish for a unique pudding flavor.  The formula database also includes delicious and satisfying lentil soup and yogurt barley soup containing 20g and 13g of protein, respectively.  Protein-containing soups are in demand among aging populations.

    Dairy protein’s assistance to chronic diseases

    Dairy proteins are produced in both powder and liquid form. While there are many benefits to both, the powder specifically allows for easy mixing in foods and beverages. As research continues to develop around dairy’s positive role regarding chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer, dairy proteins are being manufactured for consumers with special diets.

    For example, a U.S. food company recently launched a line of convenient protein shakes and whey powders to help support the unique nutritional needs of cancer patients. Since dairy proteins contain all the essential amino acids to help maintain muscle mass and have a clean, neutral flavor, they make great additives for products made to assist consumers who need easy-to-eat foods with certain nutrients in greater amounts.  

    Dairy proteins are gaining acceptance from consumers of all ages and lifestyles. For the globally increasing senior population, dairy proteins provide the quality needed to maintain muscle health for better health and greater long-term independence.

    1Administration for community living. Administration on Aging. http://www.aoa.acl.gov/Aging_Statistics/index.aspx  

    Market Insights Global Dairy Proteins Whey Protein Healthy Aging Muscle Synthesis High Quality Protein
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