Daily Protein and Energy Intake Are Not Associated with Muscle Mass and Physical Function in Healthy Older Individuals—A Cross-Sectional Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Grith Højfeldt
  • Yusuke Nishimura
  • Kenneth Mertz
  • Simon R. Schacht
  • Jonas Lindberg
  • Mikkel Jensen
  • Morten Hjulmand
  • Mads Vendelbo Lind
  • Tenna Jensen
  • Astrid Pernille Jespersen
  • Soren Reitelseder
  • Inge Tetens

Colleges, School and Institutes


Dietary protein has a pivotal role in muscle mass maintenance with advancing age. However, an optimal dose and distribution of protein intake across the day as well as the interaction with energy intake for the maintenance of muscle mass and physical function in healthy older adults remain to be fully elucidated. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between muscle mass, strength, and physical function, and the total amount and distribution of protein and energy intake across the day in healthy older individuals. The research question was addressed in a cross-sectional study including 184 Danish men and woman (age: 70.2 ± 3.9 years, body mass: 74.9 ± 12.1 kg, Body Mass Index (BMI): 25.4 ± 3.7 kg/m2) where a 3-day dietary registration, muscle mass, strength, and functional measurements were collected. We found that neither daily total protein intake nor distribution throughout the day were associated with muscle mass, strength, or physical function. Consequently, we do not provide an incentive for healthy older Danish individuals who already adhere to the current internationally accepted recommended dietary protein intake (0.83 g/kg/day) to change dietary protein intake or its distribution pattern throughout the day.


Original languageEnglish
Article number2794
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2020


  • sarcopenia, ageing, dietary protein, protein distribution, elderly, muscle mass