Are You Eating Enough Protein? The Survey Says … No


A new survey of Canadians who are 50 and older shows only 11 per cent are eating protein as frequently as they should. Dr. Stuart Phillips, a Professor of Kinesiology at McMaster University who studies the link between protein consumption and exercise for maintaining muscle mass, recommends adults 50 and over eat protein with every meal.

Eat Protein With Every Meal

“We lose muscle tissue as we age, and for most people it limits our ability and confidence in our mobility. But it doesn’t have to be that way,” he explains. Dr. Phillips was recently appointed Director of McMaster’s Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE), which is devoted to studying and improving health among adults. “If you want to stay active as you age, incorporate protein, especially high-quality protein, into every meal and exercise daily,” says Phillips.

The online survey of Canadians 50 years of age or older found that while 89 per cent of respondents know protein is important to build muscle, only 11 per cent say they consume some form with every meal within a typical week. Similarly, 96 per cent know regular exercise is important to maintain muscle mass as we age, but only 13 per cent are exercising for more than 20 minutes every day in a typical week.

“The loss of muscle as we age is called scaropenia. While we can’t stop it we can slow it down,” says Phillips. High quality protein contains the essential amino acids that help build and repair muscles and prevent muscle loss.

“Adults 50 and over should be consuming 25-30 grams of protein at every meal, which includes meat and alternatives,” says Phillips. That’s the equivalent of:

  • A ham sandwich (3 slices on whole wheat bread) with 1 cup 1% milk
  • 75 g baked chicken breast on quinoa (1/2 cup) with broccoli (1 cup)

High quality proteins also contain other nutrients like calcium and iron, along with many other essential vitamins and minerals. Meat, milk and dairy, eggs, nuts, beans and legumes are all good sources.

To watch Dr. Phillips’ video and the full series, visit www.ProteinBuilds.ca. The series informs people about the important role of high-quality protein, including meat and alternatives, and the role that eating a well-balanced diet plays in maintaining good health.