Volume 12, Issue 63
The tasty way to keep your
muscle and bone mass

Sometimes it's the simple things that make the biggest difference. For example, one of the most significant problems people face as they get older is losing muscle and bone. You know the score. This leads to weakness, loss of balance, and the increased likelihood of falling and breaking a bone. And these problems lead to less vigorous forms of activity, which serve only to make the former problems even worse. It's a vicious cycle that ends in weakness and frailty. No one wants that. So what's a really simple thing people can do that will help to break that cycle? A brand new article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says eating the right breakfast can make a big difference.

A recent summit of nutritional experts looked at the advantages of high-protein meals in combination with physical activity. Their conclusion was that in order to avoid muscle and bone loss, we should be eating at least 25-30 grams of protein per meal. And the meal they picked on most was breakfast. In their words, "For many older adults, breakfast is a carbohydrate-dominated lower-protein meal and represents an opportunity to improve and more evenly distribute daily protein intake." They go on to explain that the plant-based, high-carbohydrate diets of cereal, toast, and fruit that so many people have for breakfast is the problem. Why?

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It's because plant-based meals don't have enough of the amino acid leucine. Amino acids are the building blocks in proteins. According to the authors, "Leucine plays a key role in stimulating translation initiation and muscle protein anabolism." These mechanisms are how your body promotes muscle and bone growth. It's simple. Not enough leucine in your diet and you will lose muscle and bone. And here's the problem. The authors said, "Although both animal and plant-based proteins can provide the required essential amino acids for health, animal proteins generally have a higher proportion of the amino acid leucine." So the plant-based diets that many have, particularly for breakfast, are not likely to stem the tide of muscle and bone loss because they don't have enough leucine.

There are two things you can do to help with this problem. One is obvious. Turn in your toast, bagel, cereal, fruit-based breakfast for one that contains a significant amount of animal protein. Here's what I like to eat for breakfast. I'll have 1/4 cup of steel cut oatmeal mixed with low-fat yogurt. And then I'll have two eggs along with some low-fat cottage cheese. Then just to ice it, later on I have a scoop of my Super Immune QuickStart powder. This supplement not only supplies all of the important immune stimulating herbs, minerals, and vitamins in substantial doses, it also provides extra fiber along with protein that is high in leucine.

I'm a big believer in a large, high-protein breakfast to give you sustained energy throughout the day. Combine that with a regular interval training exercise program and you have the full recipe for staying strong and vibrant for years.

Yours for better health,

Paddon-Jones D, Campbell WW, et al. Protein and healthy aging. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Apr 29.

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