Mind Your Protein Now. It Will Matter as you Age.

Closing the protein gap with Ensure to help stay strong long as you age.

Near as anyone can tell — not that there's a big difference — Satchel Paige was around 41 or 42 when he signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1948.

In his rookie season, he went 6-1 with a 2.48 earned run average.

By the time he left the Majors in 1953 at 46 (give or take), he had pitched 59 games with a 3.29 ERA in the bigs. (He made a single start in '65 at 58ish, going 3.0 innings with 1 hit allowed.) As one of the all-time greats who spent the prime of his career segregated from the Majors, he was inducted into Cooperstown in 1971.

Perhaps most famous of all, he's remembered for his philosophy on aging: "If you don't mind, it don't matter."

That was clearly true for Satchel Paige.

The rest of us likely aren't that lucky. As Abbott's Pam Nisevich Bede and Steven Hertzler know well, minding your diet and protein intake sooner than you might think you need to can matter a great deal to how your body ages.

The "Pro" in Protein
The impact of better and more purposeful nutrition matters across all of life's stages. Yet with each passing year, consuming adequate amounts of protein and nutrients becomes more critical. Eating for longevity becomes a double edge sword: Our nutrient needs increase yet we become less proficient in putting these nutrients to work.

"We become less efficient at utilizing protein as we age," said Bede, a registered dietitian and member of Abbott's Nutrition Scientific and Medical Affairs team. "In fact, starting as early as age 40, we can start to lose up to 10% of our muscle each decade. In early adulthood, we need to start prioritizing protein because otherwise muscle loss can be a concern as the effects of aging set in."

Adds Hertzler, a senior scientist of clinical research with Abbott's Nutrition Scientific and Medical Affairs team, "A large part of muscle health is driven by your lifestyle habits, how well you take care of yourself, and how much effort you put toward eating a nutritious diet and doing the kind of physical activity it takes to stay healthy. That can definitely influence what is your physiologic age vs. your chronologic age."

RDA Is a Start, Not the End
Talking with Hertzler, you quickly learn that recommended daily allowances (RDA) may not be sufficient for most. That's the case when it comes to protein, especially for older people.

How so? Hertzler does the math.

"The RDA for protein is about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. If you have a 176-lb. (80-kg) person, that would be 64 grams of protein a day. More recent studies show that for a variety of populations — and especially the older population — 0.8 grams per kilogram is likely to be about 50% too low for optimal function.

"So it's recommend most older individuals consume closer to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to meet their body's protein needs."

Meeting Your RDA Every Day
That's where Ensure Max nutrition shakes with 30 grams of protein can be the difference in not only closing but surpassing that RDA gap, especially when considering how lifestyles change as we get older and potentially become more isolated.

"People maybe aren't as active as they used to be, so they maybe put a little less emphasis on the protein-containing foods. Taste buds change, social circumstances change, people are eating more meals alone or not with friends or aren't getting a more complete meal," Hertzler said. "As your health status declines, you're less likely to cook good meals for yourself. And so a lot of the things that are fast and easy to eat don't tend to be good sources of protein."

That's all before adding the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

"COVID is exacerbating that social isolation and affecting access to food for a lot of different populations," Bede said. "I do have concerns, especially for our elderly neighbors, where we know that malnutrition can be common. Fatigue ranging from procuring to prepping food or lack of appetite or limited access has a real impact on nutritional intake and outcomes."

Whatever the challenges a person faces meeting their protein and nutrient needs, adding Ensure Max Protein and its 30 gram of protein, 25 essential vitamins and minerals — including vitamin A, antioxidant vitamins C and E, zinc and vitamin D, all of which play an important role in supporting immune health — can help when food alone is not enough.

"Those nutrients are often in short supply in the U.S. diet," Hertzler said.

So let's review: You'd likely benefit from more protein in your diet. You need to start thinking about your protein intake earlier than you might think. And Ensure can help. While you can’t go back in time, you can start addressing protein needs now, with Ensure.