We had the pleasure of having Dr. Donald Layman, Professor Emeritus from the University of Illinois, join us at our Annual Nutrition Forum this year to speak about protein.
“It isn’t about getting more protein,” said Layman, “but about re-distributing it.” A typical meal pattern in North America provides 10 g of protein at breakfast, 20 g at lunch and 60 g at dinner. In order to make protein for muscles in the body, we need a minimum of about 30 g of protein at each meal to ensure we have enough leucine. Leucine is a key amino acid for building muscle tissue.
Current recommendations for protein are described in terms of minimums amounts, but to be healthy at 80 or 90 years of age, you need more than the minimum. Muscle wasting is common as we age, and getting enough protein at each meal can help preserve our muscles.
Likewise, when people lose weight, if you want to preserve muscle, getting enough protein (30 g per meal) is critical. In studies of people on weight loss diets, those who had enough protein lost more fat and preserved more muscle compared to those who had less protein at each meal.
Layman argues that getting breakfast right is key. What is enough protein at breakfast? One example is a meal that includes an egg, slice of cheese and 2 oz. of back bacon on half an English muffin with 1 cup of milk.
Thank you, Dr. Layman, for reiterating the importance of a good breakfast and helping us stay on track and on time with getting enough protein at all meals.
View Dr. Layman’s presentation for more details on protein and meal choices.