Science Says You Should Be Drinking Protein Shakes At This Age

When someone mentions protein shakes, they're usually talking about gym buffs or athletes. However, this drink isn't only useful for people trying to build muscle. According to The Healthy, senior citizens may want to start visiting sports supplements stores more often. A 2017 study published in PLOS ONE followed two groups of men aged 70 and older who were asked to take a protein-based nutritional supplement or a placebo for six weeks. After that period of time, the same groups began an exercise regime for another twelve weeks.

The study found that after the initial six weeks of the study, the participants who regularly consumed the protein-based supplement gained over a pound of lean body mass. Once they began exercising, they gained even more muscle compared to those who did not take the nutritional supplement. "Clearly, exercise is a key part of the greatly improved health profile of our subjects," said PhD student Kirsten Bell, who worked on the study, "but we are very excited by the enhancements the supplement alone and in combination with exercise was able to give to our participants." Regularly drinking a protein shake can help slow down or reverse some of the muscle loss that often occurs during the aging process.

Are protein shakes healthy?

While there is clearly some science that supports seniors drinking protein shakes regularly, you may be wondering how healthy these shakes really are. It is important to remember that not all protein shakes are created equal. According to Health, you should avoid shakes that contain too much added sugar, which can contribute to a variety of health issues. "Consuming a high amount of added sugar can be deleterious to anyone's health," said registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Rose. "It has been linked to unwanted weight gain, increased triglyceride levels, and type 2 diabetes." Try to choose shakes that are low in sugar or use natural sweeteners instead. You should also seek out shakes that contain as few ingredients as possible to avoid fillers and preservatives.

When that is all considered, protein shakes can be a great addition to your diet. According to Healthline, they can be particularly helpful to people who have a hard time meeting their protein needs with food alone. This is not uncommon in seniors who tend to have smaller appetites as they get older. To find the best protein shake to meet your needs, speak with your doctor or a nutritionist.