Perspective: Vegan Diets for Older Adults? A Perspective On the Potential Impact On Muscle Mass and Strength

Jacintha Domić*, Pol Grootswagers, Luc J.C. van Loon, Lisette De groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Consumers are increasingly encouraged to consume more plant-based foods and lower their consumption of foods from animal origin. Concurrently, older adults are recommended to consume an adequate amount of high-quality dietary protein for the prevention of age-related muscle loss. In the current Perspective article, we discuss why it may not be preferred to consume a vegan diet at an older age. Our perspective is based on the proposed lower bioavailability and functionality of proteins in a vegan diet due to the matrix of the whole-food protein sources, the lower essential amino acid (EAA) content, and specific EAA deficiencies in proteins derived from plant-based foods. We propose that a vegan diet increases the risk of an inadequate protein intake at an older age and that current strategies to improve the anabolic properties of plant-based foods are not feasible for many older adults. We provide recommendations for further research to substantiate the remaining knowledge gaps regarding the consequences of a vegan diet on skeletal muscle mass and strength at an older age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-725
JournalAdvances in Nutrition
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

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