Concept Card: Mini Protein Shake
Concept Card: High Protein Shake
Concept Card: Fortified Protein Powder
Whitepaper: Fuelling Longer Active Lives
It is especially important for individuals over 50 years old to prevent muscle loss, also known as sarcopenia; the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength as a result of ageing.
Sarcopenia creates a downward spiral of accumulating injuries as we grow older which have a compounding impact on the condition. This is because we move less as we lose muscle strength, which in turn means that we lose more muscle and function, leading to an increased risk of falls and fractures. This causes the cycle of deterioration to progress. Sarcopenia is especially accelerated when a lack of activity is combined with inadequate nutritional intake, leading to a decline in functional living and is associated with metabolic impairment, physical disability, and cardiovascular risk factors.
Sarcopenia is estimated to affect at least 10% of adults over 50 years old, with up to 40% in hospitals or supported living such as rest homes. Without any intervention, loss of muscle mass can start as early as 30 years old, with a modest 3-5% loss per decade that increases with age¹ ² ³. The IPSOS Nutiani Consumer Wellness Research⁴, conducted with adult consumers across seven global markets, revealed that 56% of consumers are most concerned about muscle loss when ageing. Whilst the risk of muscle loss naturally increases with age, research shows that sarcopenia progression can be better managed and even delayed through a healthy diet, sufficient protein intake and regular physical activity.
Malnutrition, medical conditions, and medications can each contribute to muscle loss. However, the decline of physical activity still remains a significant cause that many medical professionals see as the main contributor. Research shows that only a few weeks of slightly reduced activity can impact your overall muscle strength.⁶ ⁷
Muscle-strengthening exercises that can be done from the comfort of your home
- Using the stairs to do step-ups
- Using a chair to practise squats
- Using a small weight such as a tin of soup to do sit-ups, squats, chest and shoulder exercises
- Dancing to your favourite music
- Resistance bands to perform leg, arm, and glute exercises
- Climbing up and down the stairs at a pace that increases heart rate
A key to fighting muscle loss is to keep our muscles active. As we get older, there is a clear connection between exercise and maintaining muscle mass. The most effective exercises are resistance or strength training as these break down muscle fibres and trigger growth signals that prompt the body to take protein from your diet and rebuild muscles to grow stronger.
Muscle-strengthening exercises may sound intimidating to some, but staying active can be as simple as walking, running, or biking outdoors - all of which can be readily built into daily lifestyles. It is important to maintain consistency by following a pace that feels comfortable and well-suited to your lifestyle and fitness level. This is crucial to reaping the most benefits out of an exercise routine, including the prevention of muscle loss.
To reach your peak level of fitness and wellness, it is essential to learn how to appropriately and healthfully fuel your body for physical activity and daily life.
Keeping physically active is only one side of the coin. What we eat can help us maintain muscle health, especially when combined with a consistent fitness programme. According to the IPSOS Nutiani Consumer Wellness Research, more than 60% of consumers turn to nutrition to help support muscle health.4 Particularly, dairy protein is known for its ability to stimulate muscle metabolism and promote muscle retention and growth. Muscles are composed of 75% water and over 20% protein, making protein incredibly important to muscle health.10
Quality proteins contain high levels of essential amino acids that cannot be made by the human body and must be derived from our diet. These essential amino acids are known to support muscle protein synthesis. The continuous process of muscle maintenance requires nutrients that support the build-up to retain muscle mass and function. Consumers also recognise the importance of this ingredient with 56% of global consumers consuming protein to help them age healthily.4
With age, the body becomes less efficient at using protein consumed to build new muscle.11 This means older consumers require more protein in their diets to maintain the same muscle mass as a young person. However, up to one-third fail to consume the appropriate amount and this may be due to appetite loss from ageing amongst other lifestyle factors. The IPSOS Nutiani Consumer Wellness Research also revealed that over a third of consumers above 45 are not satisfied with existing products’ ability to prevent age-related muscle loss. This shows us that there is a gap in the market for solutions that are convenient, taste good and are easily digestible for older consumers who need to consume larger protein quantities.
A potential format to capture these opportunities is through the convenience of beverages and liquid supplements. Ageing can also impact appetite, sense of taste, chewing, and swallowing ability, so liquids are often easier to consume than solids and can be a more enticing offering for ageing consumers that may not feel like a large solid portion due to appetite loss.
When formulating food and beverage products to support healthy ageing, particularly muscle health, it is important to prioritise holistic solutions that address multiple concerns to cater to the evolving expectations of consumers. The IPSOS Nutiani Consumer Wellness Research showed that consumers felt that healthy ageing products skewed strongly to bone and joint claims, but do not address wider concerns such as muscle maintenance and mobility.
Nutiani has a broad range of market-ready wellbeing concepts that are technically feasible across formats and can be adapted based on consumers’ most pressing needs. We also provide access to high-value ingredients such as Nutiani Phospholipids, Nutiani Probiotics and NZMP milk protein concentrates that can be readily incorporated into products whilst delivering the desired flavour, sensory experience, and micronutrients for your market needs.
It is undeniable that muscle loss will eventually occur as a natural part of ageing. However, staying active and adopting balanced diets throughout our life with sufficient intake of beneficial nutrients can play a big part in retaining muscle strength and performance for longer, supporting our health and keeping us mobile as we grow older.
For more information, please view our Nutiani White Paper Fuelling Longer Active Lives.