Switching towards More Plant-Based Diets in Older Adults: Implications for Protein Intake and Protein Quality Based on a Simulation Study

Pol Grootswagers*, Jos Borkent, Marielle Timmer, William Riley, Joost Linschooten, Annet Roodenburg, Inge Tetens, Marian De van der Schueren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademic

Abstract

Rationale: An adequate amount of good-quality protein (P) is essential to remain fit and healthy at an older age. Animal-based proteins (ABPs) are of high quality and provide nearly 60% of the P intake in older adults. It is unclear if an adequate P intake can be achieved when ABPs are replaced by vegetarian (Veg) or plant-based (Plant) alternatives. Methods: A simulation study was performed based on dietary intake data from the Dutch National food consumption (DNFC) 2019–2021 (n = 607, age ≥ 65 years). In five scenarios, animal protein intake was replaced by vegetable protein. The scenario diets included vegetarian, flexitarian (two levels), pescatarian and vegan. Protein quality was measured by the Meal Protein Quality Score (MPQS), a score that ranges from 0–100 and takes into account protein digestibility, body-weight based amino acid requirements, and time window of complementation. Results: Total P and MPQS remained stable over all non-vegan plant-based scenarios, but showed a large decrease in the vegan scenario. Conclusions: shifting to a fully vegan diet severely compromises total protein intake and protein quality in older adults, whereas shifting to a vegetarian or flexitarian diet does not.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings The 14th European Nutrition Conference FENS 2023
EditorsS. Sobajic, P.C. Calder
PublisherMDPI
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2023
EventThe 14th European Nutrition Conference FENS 2023 - Belgrade, Serbia
Duration: 14 Nov 202317 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings
Volume91
ISSN (Electronic)2504-3900

Conference

ConferenceThe 14th European Nutrition Conference FENS 2023
Abbreviated titleFENS 2023
Country/TerritorySerbia
CityBelgrade
Period14/11/2317/11/23

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