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Protein needs in old age - Seniors should eat more protein

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A high-protein diet is particularly important in old age. How to get the amount of protein you need.

The need for nutrients changes with age: we need a quarter fewer calories, but even more protein than we did when we were young. With the tips from nutritionist Caroline Kiss, everyday nutrition can be tailored to this - with normal foods.

Caroline Kiss

Nutritionist

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Caroline Kiss (52) heads clinical nutrition research at the Felix Platter Hospital in Basel, which specializes in geriatric medicine. The qualified nutritionist is an expert in nutritional therapy for malnutrition and sarcopenia (muscle wasting). (Image: Derek Li Wan Po)

SRF: Why is protein important in old age?

Caroline Kiss: In old age we lose around a third of our muscle mass. This increases the risk of falling and thus bed restraint and isolation. With enough protein and exercise, you can maintain and even build muscle even in old age.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

For healthy seniors: at least 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight every day. For a woman weighing 65 kilograms that would be around 65 to 80 grams of protein per day.

High protein foods

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For example, 10 grams of protein are contained in:

  • 3 dl milk or yogurt
  • 1 ½ eggs
  • 50 grams of meat or fish
  • 25 grams of dried meat
  • 30 grams of hard cheese
  • 60 grams of soft cheese
  • 100 grams of quark, cottage cheese or ziger
  • 12 grams of whey protein powder

Vegetable proteins:

  • 3 dl soy milk
  • 100 grams of tofu
  • 50 grams of nuts, kernels, seeds
  • 100 grams of legumes (cooked)

Does the distribution of the amount of protein play a role?

Yes. Ideally, the amount of protein is evenly distributed over the three main meals. For example, a good 20 grams of protein from protein-rich foods with every main meal. This is already fulfilled with the following menus:

  • Breakfast: bread, 1-2 fried eggs, 30 g hard cheese, white coffee with 1.5 dl milk.
  • Lunch: pasta, carrots, 100 g meat or fish, 1 caramel topping.
  • Zvieri: fruits.
  • Dinner: Gschwellti, 100 g quark, 60 g soft cheese, 25 g tree nuts, salad.
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Do you have any other tips for a high protein diet?

Breakfast is often the least protein-rich. If you add an egg, cheese or meat, you change that right away. In general: eat an egg a day. Eggs wrongly have a bad reputation.

If you don't like breakfast, try a milkshake enriched with whey protein. Whey protein contains the amino acid leucine, which promotes muscle building. Ziger made from whey also contains a lot of natural leucine.

Also: Rediscover the legumes! They are valuable and still cheap. Nuts, kernels and seeds are also small protein powerhouses: They are very diverse and go with everything.

Increase the protein content at the expense of the starch supplement, but not of fruits or vegetables.

Where can I find more information?

At the Tavolata, Link opens in a new window Cooking and eating seniors together. Because eating is something social! You can also test online how healthy you are eating, the link will open in a new window. In addition, the Swiss Nutrition Society, Link opens in a new window, offers a wealth of information and recipes.

For those interested in science, there is a 150-page report on, Link opens in a new window “Nutrition in old age”, Link opens in a new window recently published by the Federal Nutrition Commission.

Interview conducted by Thomas Kobel.

kobt / mata

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  • Comment from Rolf Künzi (undefined)
    Everything would be in the magical bone broth. The proteins are one of the keys to long life. Followed by the water-soluble vitamins plus stretching, breathing and moving. https://www.orellfuessli.ch/shop/home/artikeldetails/ID45371313.html?ProvID=10917736&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuYjuhZyq4AIVjuF3Ch2aGwDXEAAYASAAEgJPefD_BwE
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Comment from Annemarie Vogt (Frenkygirl)
    But you are completely wrong. We actually know that eggs, meat and dairy products in particular contain a lot of healthy protein and that this is important for health. In the past, people - of necessity because there was nothing else - ate healthy food and did not question everything and anything.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Comment from Eva Opitz (Eva Elisabeth Opitz)
    ... and with the measures proposed in the film, they increase the cholesterol level, feed tumor growth with growth hormones in milk and gleidch and eat themselves daily with antibiotic-resistant germs. This helps the pharmaceutical and meat-milk lobby and works against aging ...
    In legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, as well as mushrooms, there are also phytochemicals, vitamins and fiber in addition to cholesterol-free protein!
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
    1. answer from silvia Gautschi (Gautschi)
      I see the consequences of our animal protein food culture every day; chronic inflammatory diseases, autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes II, osteoporosis, cancer. A big problem is that the elderly do not change their eating habits any more and eat ready-made meals that are meat-heavy. Most of the time, however, they can no longer bite it. Most old people at home are malnourished, are hardly hungry and drink too little.
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers

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