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Is it time to revisit the current protein recommendations?
Date:6/17/2008

Rosemont, Ill. - June 17, 2008- Current protein recommendations were established with the goal of preventing deficiency, but newer research indicates that many adults may benefit from eating more than the minimum requirement. These findings are presented in a supplement in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition1 describing the conclusions of a Protein Summit held last spring, which brought together the world's leading scientists in protein research.

The summit's attendees report in the supplement that eating a higher protein diet - still within the recommended range, but toward the top of it - may play a role in optimal health, as higher protein diets are linked with a lower risk for many health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis as well as sarcopenia, the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength.

The current U.S. recommendation according to the Institute of Medicine is that adults should consume between ten and 35 percent of their calories from protein. The summit participants said that many adults, such as those who are overweight or obese and older Americans may benefit from eating up to 35 percent of their calories from protein.

The summit's conclusions complement examination of evidence by the International Dietary Energy Consultancy Group (IDECG), World Health Organization/Food and Agricultural Organization and Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) panel, which has determined that there is either a benefit or no harm with protein intakes three to four times the minimum requirement. This means that adults can safely eat up to 35 percent of their total calories as protein, and there may be some health benefits in doing so. Since most Americans are consuming protein in the lower end of this range (about 13-16 percent), there is room for adding more high-quality protein to their diets while still being in the r
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