Epidemiological studies show that adequate muscle mass is crucial for health among elderly, as the loss of lean body mass occurs with aging. Increased protein intake through yogurt consumption improves muscle mass, bone and cardiovascular health, weight management, metabolic diseases and reduces all-cause mortality risks.
Muscle strength and physical functioning are more important for the health status in elderly, compared to muscle mass. A higher intake of proteins or amino acids increases muscle strength. Not only the amount, but the quality of proteins matter and is determined by the amount of essential amino acids (EAA) and their digestibility. A new scoring system, Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS), calculates the quality profile of proteins. The DIAAS for milk protein is approximately 140%, whereas 80% for vegetables.
Higher protein intake recommendations
Dr. Wolfe (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, US) recommends an optimal protein consumption of 1,5g/kg/day for elderly. The average protein intake in the US (1,2g/kg/day) is higher than the US Dietary Reference Intake (0,8g/kg/day). Yogurt consumption can contribute to more protein intake without excessive calories and has a higher amino acid quality compared to vegetable proteins, such as soy.