Increasing Protein Intake After Age 65

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Should We Increase Our Protein Intake After Age 65?

A study that purported to show that diets high in meat, eggs, and dairy could be as harmful to health as smoking supposedly suggested that “[p]eople under 65 who eat a lot of meat, eggs, and dairy are four times as likely to die from cancer or diabetes.” But if you look at the actual study, you’ll see that’s simply not true: Those eating a lot of animal protein didn’t have four times more risk of dying from diabetes—they had 73 times the risk. Even those in the moderate protein group, who got 10 to 19 percent of calories from protein, had about 23 times the risk of dying of diabetes compared to those consuming the recommended amount of protein, which comes out to be about 6 to 10 percent of calories from protein, around 50 grams a day.

So, the so-called low protein intake is actually the recommended protein intake, associated with a major reduction in cancer and overall mortality in middle age, under age 65, but not necessarily in older populations. When it comes to diabetes deaths, lower overall protein intake is associated with a longer life at all ages. However, for cancer, it seems to flip around age 65. I discuss this in my video Increasing Protein Intake After Age 65.

“These results suggest that low protein intake during middle age followed by moderate to high protein consumption in old adults may optimize healthspan and longevity.” Some have suggested that the standard daily allowance for protein, which is 0.8 grams of daily protein for every healthy kilogram of body weight, may be fine for most, but perhaps older people require more. The study upon which the recommended daily allowance (RDA) was based indicated that, though there was a suggestion that the “elderly may have a somewhat higher requirement, there is not enough evidence to make different recommendations.” The definitive study was published in 2008 and found no difference in protein requirements between young and old. The same RDA should be adequate for the elderly. However, adequate intake is not necessarily optimal intake. The protein requirement “studies have not addressed the possibility that protein intake well above the RDA could prove beneficial,” or so suggests a member of the Whey Protein Advisory Panel for the National Dairy Council and a consultant for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

A study followed sedentary individuals over the age of 65 for 12 years and found they lose about one percent of their muscle mass every year. If you force people to lie in bed for days at a time, anyone would lose muscle mass, but older adults on bedrest may lose muscle mass six times faster than young people also on bedrest. So, it’s use it or lose it for everyone, but the elderly appear to lose muscle mass faster, so they better use it. The good news is that in contrast to the 12-year U.S. study, a similar study in Japan found that the “[a]ge-related decreases in muscle mass were trivial.” Why the difference? It turns out that in the Japanese study, “the participants were informed about the results of their muscle strength, [so] they often tried to improve it by training before the next examination.” This was especially true among the men , who got so competitive their muscle mass increased with age, which shows that the loss of muscle mass with age is not inevitable—you just have to put in some effort. And, research reveals that adding protein doesn’t seem to help. Indeed, adding more egg whites to the diet didn’t influence the muscle responses to resistance training, and that was based on studies funded by the American Egg Board itself. Even the National Dairy Council couldn’t spin it: Evidently, strength “training-induced improvements in body composition, muscle strength and size, and physical functioning are not enhanced when older people…increase their protein intake by either increasing the ingestion of higher-protein foods or consuming protein-enriched nutritional supplements.”

Is there anything we can do diet-wise to protect our aging muscles? Eat vegetables. Consuming recommended levels of vegetables was associated with basically cutting in half the odds of low muscle mass. Why? “[T]he alkalizing effects of vegetables may neutralize the mild metabolic acidosis” that occurs with age, when that little extra acid in our body facilitates the breakdown of muscle. I’ve discussed before how “[m]uscle wasting appears to be an adaptive response to acidosis.” (See my video Testing Your Diet with Pee and Purple Cabbage for more on this.) We appear to get a chronic low-grade acidosis with advancing age because our kidney function starts to decline and because we may be eating an acid-promoting diet, which means a diet high in fish, pork, chicken, and cheese, and low in fruits and vegetables. Beans and other legumes are the only major sources of protein that are alkaline instead of acid-forming. And indeed, a more plant-based diet—that is, a more alkaline diet—was found to be positively associated with muscle mass in women aged 18 to 79.

So, if we are going to increase our protein consumption after age 65, it would preferably be plant-based proteins to protect us from frailty. No matter how old we are, a diet that emphasizes plant-based nutrition “is likely to maximize health benefits in all age groups.”


What was that about a study that purported to show that diets high in meat, eggs, and dairy could be as harmful to health as smoking? See my video Animal Protein Compared to Cigarette Smoking.

Protein is so misunderstood. For more on the optimal amount of protein, see Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein? and The Great Protein Fiasco.

Interested in learning more about the optimal source of protein? See:

What about the rumors that plant protein is incomplete? See The Protein Combining Myth.

For information on buffering the acid in our blood, see Testing Your Diet with Pee and Purple Cabbage.

And, for more on acid/base balance, see:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


69 responses to “Should We Increase Our Protein Intake After Age 65?

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  1. The traditional Okinwan Diet, famous for producing large numbers of centenarians, contained only 9% protein (as a proportion of total calories).
    ttps://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/eda6/361c707a249fc831479889dec46b2a0870a4.pdf?_ga=2.223606107.177116632.1563279149-1792014454.1563279149

    1. Thank you for posting this study, I did a quick review and bookmarked it to spend some time really “digesting” (all puns intended) it. Very interesting…

    2. Mr Fumblefingers,

      I could not open your link. It didn’t show up as a link in your comment, and when I copied and pasted it, Safari said it was an invalid address.

      1. Yes, sorry, I missed the ‘h’ from https at the beginning of the address when I copied the link …. itt’s a case of fumblefingers strikes again.

  2. While I don’t want to denigrate the studies, they don’t talk about how the participants actually feel. At age 70, even using an augmented rice protein supplement, I simply have no energy unless I get some fish every few days.

    1. I simply have no energy unless I get some fish every few days.
      ——————————————————————————

      Put me in this category as well. There are so many other foods that make me sleepy during the day.

        1. as a pescetarian, i am “out of the closet” but eating fish or not eating fish makes absolutely no difference in my energy level. maybe the whole fish thing is the placebo effect?
          (the reason i eat fish is simply because i like the taste of it)

    2. EU

      At 69, I have no problems with energy and not eating fish or other animal foods – apart from the very occasional guilty pleasure of eating ice cream. Such statements as yours therefore obviously don’t apply to everyone.

      So i don’t really know what to think about statements like yours since I know people who make similar statements about needing that cigarette, or glass of wine at the end of the day, or life not being worth living without bacon and so on..

      Low-mercury fish are probably a good idea if you don’t supplement although I am encouraged by the fact that in the Adventists mortality study so-called vegan males had the lowest relative mortality risk of all cohorts, beating out male pescatarians.

        1. Codor

          I have no idea and doubt if my personal data are even relevant to the question of what is the appropriate dietary guidance for most people.

          The US National Academies of Science recommend 10 to 35 % of total calories should come from protein.

          http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2002/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-for-Energy-Carbohydrate-Fiber-Fat-Fatty-Acids-Cholesterol-Protein-and-Amino-Acids.aspx

          That said, the tradional Okinawan Diet only provided 9% of total calories as protein and that clearly didn’t impair people’s ability to live to a healthy old age or their ability to continue working in fields and gardens in old age.
          https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d60c/36654c81af95c02fdf8e428971fab2f392c6.pdf

      1. I’m not setting up an argument with you. I was only speaking for myself. I’m pretty familiar with my 70 year old body and its needs. I have fibromyalgia, chronic GERD unless I stay off gluten, chronic pelvic pain syndrome(unless I take daily zinc, saw palmetto, cranberry juice and some herbs), bleeding hemorrhoids(if I drink any coffee–reg or decaf), and Chronic Lyme Disease. Physicians and their research have not helped me with any of these conditions– I have had to search out the treatments myself.

        I am a vegan who 2 times a week eats fish because for me: it works to keep my energy up.

        1. What you are doing is entirely in line with mainstream nutritional advice eg

          https://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/advice-about-eating-fish

          I don’t eat fish personally but that is for ethical rather than nutritional reasons. It;s not eating fish twice a week that I thought problematical.

          It was only the ‘energy’ and fish consumption statement that I found odd. It’s the first time I have heard people saying that they lack energy unless they eat fish. Your comment implied that it must be a common phenomenon but I don’t think it is. That was my intended point.

    3. I’m 76 and WFPB for 3 years. When I cheat and eat fried chicken (which is delicious here in Thailand), I have constipation and lose energy. Always have MORE energy eating starch.

        1. Hi YR, That song is really cool! I never knew Charlie Rich was so much older than us “young” folks ;-) Looks like he would have been 87 if alive today. But yes, what ever happened to Thea is “behind closed doors”.

          She seemed to have left when this website started making big changes from what we were all used to. But while she was a moderator here, she was very talented in handling people’s questions and finding answers for them, In fact, I was so impressed with her patience and dedication, I wrote a poem in her honor. I think it’s still in the comments section at the link below:

          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-boost-your-immune-system-with-wakame-seaweed/

          1. Awww, ’tis a lovely tribute to Thea, Hal. The “beat per line” was a bit off, but by god, the man’s got talent! *clapping*

            The Allisfood face looks suspiciously like…*drum roll*…The Man Himself! *_^

            1. YR, re: “The “beat per line” was a bit off” …. I must admit that I’m not very good at singing or dancing either, but “behind closed doors” is a different story ;-)

        2. perhaps Thea decided to leave the fold. I mean, do you really know for sure if she has or hasn’t?
          —————————————————————————————————————————
          I initially thought Thea was female (name association) but something later in a post caused me to think otherwise.

          But anyway, I seem to remember seeing a Thea post lately, but it may have been in a Flashback Friday… thus the post could have been some time ago.

          1. Lonie, lotsa folks thought you were female too, right? (Unless you really ARE!)

            I always thought Thea was indeed a broad. One of my Curry House (Indian buffet) friend’s name is Thea. And she’s a goil person.

        3. I don’t think that it was Thea’s decision. From memory, it occurred at the time of the last major site revamp when some major changes in policy as well as software were introduced.

    1. I take an augmented rice protein with my dark choco – psysillium husks- herbal combination- ground flax seed prune/cranberry/beet juice cocktail 2 x a day. This brings my protein up to the required 50 mg a day. But I am also trying to lose weight. Chronic Lyme and Fibro make this exceedingly difficult, and so to drop pounds I can’t exceed 1300 cal a day or I don’t lose, and less than 1100 that I go into starvation mode and don’t lose. At my height and weight it should fall off me fast, but it doesn’t. Eating more than 1500 cal a day causes me to gain. I’ve figured this out for this body over many years. Doctors never believe me.

    2. Hi ron dombcik – Thanks for your question! There are numerous plant-based protein sources including beans, lentils, soy, nuts/nut butters, seeds, and whole grains! The more whole food protein sources you incorporate into your diet, as opposed to more processed plant protein sources including protein powders, the better! Adding a handful of nuts/seeds or a tablespoon of a nut/seed butter is a simple way to boost the protein in your smoothie by using more whole foods.

      I hope this helps!
      -Janelle RD – Registered Dietitian & NutritionFacts.org Health Support Volunteer

  3. Are we saying that only plant protein is healthy?? There are countless studies that say otherwise.

    ***A observational study of older Japanese adults, just published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, concludes “increased consumption of meat and dairy products may provide sufficient protein and fat necessary for achieving higher energy intake, thereby effectively preventing physical frailty among older Japanese individuals.” —https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30569075/

    In a systematic review of 20 randomized controlled trials, adults retained more lean mass and lose more fat when they consume higher amounts of dietary protein – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26883880

    Whey protein lowers blood pressure and improves endothelial function and lipid biomarkers in adults with prehypertension and mild hypertension:– PubMed – The consumption of unhydrolyzed milk proteins (56 g/d) for 8 wk improved vascular reactivity, biomarkers of endothelial function, and lipid risk factors. Whey-protein supplementation also lowered 24-h ambulatory SBP and DBP — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27797709/?i=2&from=/27150497/related

    The effects of whey protein on cardiometabolic risk factors. – PubMed –
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23167434/

    Protein-rich diet may help soothe inflamed gut (think Tryptophan) — http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/318828.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly-us

    In this latest study, a team of Czech researchers analyzed the consumption of 60 food items in 158 countries around the globe between 1993 and 2011. The study found that the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease was lower with higher intake of total fats and protein, animal protein and fat, meats, fruits, coffee and cheese. — https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/4/411
    Consuming milk at breakfast lowers blood glucose throughout the day: Effects of protein composition and concentration – ScienceDaily – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180820085243.htm
    Nutrition for the Japanese elderly – the longest – lived Japanese eat meat and dairy (insulin control) — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1407826
    Abstract — The present paper examines the relationship of nutritional status to further life expectancy and health status in the Japanese elderly based on 3 epidemiological studies. 1. Nutrient intakes in 94 Japanese centenarians investigated between 1972 and 1973 showed a higher proportion of animal protein to total proteins than in contemporary average Japanese. 2. High intakes of milk and fats and oils had favorable effects on 10-year (1976-1986) survivorship in 422 urban residents aged 69-71. The survivors revealed a longitudinal increase in intakes of animal foods such as eggs, milk, fish and meat over the 10 years. 3. Nutrient intakes were compared, based on 24-hour dietary records, between a sample from Okinawa Prefecture where life expectancies at birth and 65 were the longest in Japan, and a sample from Akita Prefecture where the life expectancies were much shorter. Intakes of Ca, Fe, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and the proportion of energy from proteins and fats were significantly higher in the former than in the latter.

    1. Greg

      observational studies like these are often confounded. Low protein intake is frequently associated with poverty, malnutrition and insufficient calories.for example. High animal protein intake especially in Asian is associated with wealth and consequently educationa nd access to better health care.

      it’s pretty widely accepted that plant protein offers a mortality advantage compared to animal protein eg
      ‘CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:
      High animal protein intake was positively associated with cardiovascular mortality and high plant protein intake was inversely associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, especially among individuals with at least 1 lifestyle risk factor. Substitution of plant protein for animal protein, especially that from processed red meat, was associated with lower mortality, suggesting the importance of protein source.’
      CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:
      High animal protein intake was positively associated with cardiovascular mortality and high plant protein intake was inversely associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, especially among individuals with at least 1 lifestyle risk factor. Substitution of plant protein for animal protein, especially that from processed red meat, was associated with lower mortality, suggesting the importance of protein source.

      `

    2. “Objective. The long‐term health consequences of diets used for weight control are not established. We have evaluated the association of the frequently recommended low carbohydrate diets – usually characterized by concomitant increase in protein intake – with long‐term mortality.

      Design. The Women’s Lifestyle and Health cohort study initiated in Sweden during 1991–1992, with a 12‐year almost complete follow up.

      Setting. The Uppsala Health Care Region.

      Subjects. 42 237 women, 30–49 years old at baseline, volunteers from a random sample, who completed an extensive questionnaire and were traced through linkages to national registries until 2003.

      Main Outcome Measures. We evaluated the association of mortality with: decreasing carbohydrate intake (in deciles); increasing protein intake (in deciles) and an additive combination of these variables (low carbohydrate–high protein score from 2 to 20), in Cox models controlling for energy intake, saturated fat intake and several nondietary covariates.

      Results. Decreasing carbohydrate or increasing protein intake by one decile were associated with increase in total mortality by 6% (95% CI: 0–12%) and 2% (95% CI: −1 to 5%), respectively. For cardiovascular mortality, amongst women 40–49 years old at enrolment, the corresponding increases were, respectively, 13% (95% CI: −4 to 32%) and 16% (95% CI: 5–29%), with the additive score being even more predictive.

      Conclusions. A diet characterized by low carbohydrate and high protein intake was associated with increased total and particularly cardiovascular mortality amongst women. Vigilance with respect to long‐term adherence to such weight control regimes is advisable.”
      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2007.01774.x

  4. What does protein have to do with diabetes?

    I thought diabetes was caused by ingestion of too much sugar, forcing the pancreas to work overtime to secrete insulin and eventually wear itself out.

    1. Actually excess sugar is just a SYMPTOM of diabetes, insulin resistance is caused by too much fat accumulated in our cells (intramyocellular lipids) preventing insulin from being able to invite sugar (glucose) into the cell as fuel, and instead it stays in the bloodstream. Limiting carbs/sugar will of course lower numbers because you aren’t throwing gas on the proverbial fire…but the fire is still burning. Putting the fire out (actually reversing diabetes instead of “managing” it) involves minimizing fat intake,eating a whole food plant based diet and actually increasing complex carbohydrates. I did just that, as have many others, after seeing the enlightening movie “Forks Over Knives” and becoming my own guinea pig, because the low carb diet pushed by most doctors and the ADA never actually fixed anything!

      1. Hello Charzie, Glad to see you posting again. And, yes, it is counter-intuitive that oil/fat is the culprit in T2 diabetes, but Dr Greger has a good video with diagrams explaining it on this site somewhere.

        BTW, are you still experimenting with fermented foods?

  5. Darn, wish I read this article BEFORE the onslaught of 4th of July bbq’s. Thanks for your insights and for helping us to wake up.

  6. I love this one.

    I watched the video recently and looked into the acid versus alkaline and I eat beans and broccoli and feel confident that I am getting my protein and that is such a nice feeling.

    Thank you to Tom and Hal for your useful information.

    Respect to Greg and the fish-eaters for being infinitely stubbornly never flinchingly who they are.

    I am quite happy having zero animals die for my animal-killing footprint.

    Does that concept exist?

    It is easier for me than trying to figure out how to make my plastic containers for my vegetables disappear.

  7. I am in a good mood today.

    I woke up and watched some reviews of the Ninja Foodi versus the Instapot and I watched a man cook rice in the Instapot using the Instapot book and their rice setting couldn’t cook their rice. He had to go to a manual function. On top of that, the recipes say, “cup” and they don’t mean 8 ounces. They mean the little rice cup, which 4 little rice cups is only 3 cups. After watching several videos, I understand that the Instapot is not intuitive to me and mine doesn’t have a manual function and all of the recipes use manual.

    The Foodi is just adjust the temperature and time.

    I might be giving my Instapots to my poorer than I am friends and getting something I can actually use, but I will say that I am relieved because it may not all have been my brain damage.

    I feel like I am going to figure all of this out. Including how to heal my thyroid, if not losing weight has been a thyroid problem. I started using the PEMF last night and the light therapy is coming and I will not have to go on meds. That is what I am stubborn about.

      1. Mine doesn’t really have buttons. It has a knob.

        I am going to say that I am not afraid to use it, but:

        It sprays my miso soup all over the room.
        The chili burns the bottom of the liner and is a challenge sometimes to get off.
        It brought my vegetable dishes down to glop and sloop, instead of more like a stew – and multiple times I microwaved all of the same vegetables and put them in and found out that the microwaved vegetables turned out exactly as I wanted them, no matter how I wanted them and the things I put in the Instapot never really turned out like I wanted them to.
        Rice was challenging to cook because it doesn’t have a white rice, brown rice, black rice, wild rice setting.

        Letting the steam out took forever and was ridiculously messy. Covering everything with sticky mess. Supposedly you can just watch television and come out in 20 minutes and it will have done it by itself, but doing that tended to overcook everything.

        I would try to remember to turn off the warmer function every time, but if I forgot, that is when the bottom of the liner really would get burnt.

        The spraying also messed up the groove at the top of the pot and that is so hard to clean out. You can’t put that part in the dishwasher and I may have given all of them away, but I keep finding little bits of food stuck in that groove.

        I feel like I like having a big pot and I like not having to use the stove or oven, but other than that, I like having serious control over things.

        I had a different electric multi-cooker before the Instapot and I loved how that one functioned, except that it broke within 6 months. Maybe less.

        I also have had rice cookers, which I also loved very much but you can open those and see what is going on and you can stop them on a dime.

      2. Barb,

        They aren’t like pressure cookers from our youth if that is what makes you nervous.

        They are more like messy crock pots, which cook really fast, but don’t do that noisy, scary, explosive process.

        1. Mostly, it is pretending to be intuitive, like the “popcorn” button on a microwave, but whatever you do, don’t ever push the chili or rice button. Soup, you probably could get away with pushing if you are doing soup, but the 20 to 30 minutes of cleaning Miso off of the cabinets and countertops weren’t exactly time-saving.

    1. but I will say that I am relieved because it may not all have been my brain damage.
      —————————————————————————————————————
      Deb, I think you can drop the old “brain damage” reference.

      No doubt it was once a concern but if you are honest in your posts (and it does appear you “live your life out-loud”) then I think your brain has made the connections to compensate for the loss from any damaged areas.

      From afar, and judging your state of mind from reading your posts… I’d say you have achieved brain health. ‘-)

  8. Thanks for your comments Deb! Very helpful indeed. Think I will stick with the slow cooker for a few things, and regular pot on the stove or oven for others. I haven’t tried cooking beans in the slow cooker but Mary McDougall does it all the time to make large batches of beans for burritos. She did a demo video on youtube. I don’t like over cooked food really, so I think for me the instapot would be too much.

  9. Dr. Greger: What do you think about insect-based protein? I have tried cricket powder in some of my recipes: it is high in protein, has B12 and some fibre too.

  10. The lady in the photo scrubbing the carrot looks like she needs to lift some weights at the very least. I’d suggest using an 8-lb dumbbell.

    1. Zap “scrubbing” — looks like she’s just rinsing it; it’s probably organic.

      (I’ve been buying organic carrots and celery.)

    1. Hi there, the studies referenced are all hyperlinked in the article and should show up as blue text. Hope that helps!

    1. Hello Rick,

      You are correct in thinking that testosterone may decrease as you age. Supplementation or medication with hormones, however, is something that is best discussed with your physician. That is something to be determined on an individual basis.
      There are some dietary measures that can be taken to improve testosterone levels, however. It appears that animal protein actually can decrease testosterone levels and those following plant-based diets tend to have higher total testosterone levels and equal free testosterone levels to those who eat animal products. Another issue may be dietary pollutants, such as PCBs that are found in large part in animal products. They tend to have testosterone lowering effects. I have attached some more resources for you to continue to learn about this topic.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt, ND

      Animal protein + Testosterone: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-effect-of-animal-protein-on-stress-hormones-testosterone-and-pregnancy/
      Dietary pollutants + Testosterone: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dietary-pollutants-may-affect-testosterone-levels/

  11. Dr. Greger is very helpful in general but sometimes he too specifically sticks to the theme of a few studies and doesn’t step back to focus on the whole picture. This article leads people to believe that dying of diabetes is the concern but doesn’t pull in other studies that talk about animal protein is responsible for heart disease, cancer, auto-immune diseases, etc. So if someone disregards their concern about diabetes they disregard this article. Big picture focus is what’s needed.

    1. Dr. Greger is very helpful in general but sometimes he too specifically sticks to the theme of a few studies and doesn’t step back to focus on the whole picture. This article leads people to believe that dying of diabetes is the concern but doesn’t pull in other studies that talk about animal protein is responsible for heart disease, cancer, auto-immune diseases, etc. So if someone disregards their concern about diabetes they disregard this article. Big picture focus is what’s needed.
      —————————————————————————————————————————
      VK, are you new to the site? My thinking is the site is to be consumed one bite at a time… this video being one of those bite sized articles. When followed as a whole, all of the concerns you mentioned are addressed.

  12. I’m a vegan. My father, who is 93, is not. He eats bacon and eggs every morning and loves to eat beef, ribs, french fries, potato chips, hamburgers, hot dogs, and ice cream. He only eats certain vegetables. He eats very little fish and no chicken. He has never smoked or drank. He’s in good health, lives on his own, and is socially active. Dr. Greger, how do you explain his longevity and good health?

    1. In addition, my 93-year-old father has not been on any medications until recently (1.5 yrs) when his doctor put him on a very low dose blood pressure medication.

    2. Hello Brad,

      As with anything, there are exceptions to the rule. There are people who have been lifelong smokers who live into their 90s, but that doesn’t mean smoking is healthy. There are many factors that play into anybody’s health and longevity, including genetics. Even though he’s doing quite well now, there’s reason to believe that he would be even healthier and more mobile if he ate a plant-based diet. Furthermore, on a population scale, if everyone was following a heavy animal diet, more people would suffer from chronic disease than if everyone was following a plant-based diet.

      I hope this clears up your question,
      Dr. Matt, ND

  13. How many grams of protein a day do you recommend for someone trying to gain weight and build muscle? How might a vegan get in 120+ grams of protein a day or in general get ~25-35% of his or her daily calories from protein? Do you have a favorite protein powder and/or bar that you would recommend for those looking for healthier options?

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