Antoneta Granic, Nuno Mendonça, Avan A. Sayer, Tom R. Hill, Karen Davies, Mario Siervo, John C. Mathers, Carol Jagger

Clinical Nutrition 2019 Jan 10. [Epub ahead of print].


Sarcopenia is a progressive loss of muscle mass and muscle strength that may lead to disability, falls, and hospitalisation. The very old, those aged 85 years and older, are the fastest growing age group in most western societies and are at especially high risk of sarcopenia. Onset of sarcopenia may be partly explained by diet. Therefore, we aimed to explore the role of dietary patterns and protein intake in the risk of sarcopenia over 3 years. Our study, the Newcastle 85+, was based in North East England, and involved more than 750 people aged 85 years old. These participants had their diet estimated by a 24 hour multiple pass recall (people are asked what foods and drinks they consumed in the past 24 hours) on two different days of the week and from this, dietary patterns were derived. Sarcopenia was measured over 3 years according to a muscle mass index, gait speed and grip strength. We identified three dietary patterns: ‘Low Red Meat’, ‘Traditional British’ and ‘Low Butter’ that varied by unsaturated fat spreads/oils, butter, red meat, gravy and potato consumption. We found that very old adults who had a dietary pattern high in foods characteristic of a traditional British diet (high butter, red meat, gravy and potato consumption, and high fat and energy intake), especially compared to a low butter dietary pattern (high in unsaturated fat spreads/oils, fibre, percentage of energy from protein and starch) had an increased risk of sarcopenia even when overall protein intake was good. These results add to the limited literature on the role of the whole diet in sarcopenia in very old adults.

You can also read the scientific article here.