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Optimizing Protein Intake: A Guide for Men Over 40

Protein is one of the most essential macronutrients—if not the most important—for men, regardless of age. It’s needed for muscle growth and repair, metabolism, weight management, bone health, blood pressure, and more. Nutrition for men over 40 doesn’t have to be complicated—the recommended protein intake is between 1.2 to 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight. If you’re physically active, you may need more.

Powering Up with Protein: How Much is Just Right for Men Over 40?

Quick look:

  • Protein is essential for more than just muscle growth and strength—it’s also involved in hormone balance, bone health, and metabolism
  • Most men over 40 need between 1.2-2.0g/kg of protein, but more physically active men may need between 1.6-2.4g/kg
  • The Meta-Test Nutrition System makes hitting your protein goals easy with the ‘balanced plate’ concept

Why is protein important for men over 40?

Regardless of age, protein is critical for maintaining long-term health. For aging men, sarcopenia is a big reason protein is required at every meal—and in sufficient amounts. As men age, they experience a natural loss of muscle mass, scientifically called sarcopenia. It is an aging-related loss of muscle function that involves many changes in the structure and function of skeletal muscle. This process happens slowly—muscle is lost at a rate of about 1% per year after 30—and the degree of functional loss varies significantly among men, but it happens in all humans, even healthy, well-nourished, and physically active people.

So, what’s the remedy for counteracting this natural phenomenon? Boost your protein intake. Studies consistently suggest that adequate protein intake can mitigate the effects of sarcopenia in older men, promoting muscle retention and even growth.

It’s estimated that 22% to 38% of men over 50 consume less than the recommended dietary protein intake of 0.8 g/kg/day. On top of that, metabolic efficiency decreases with age, which exacerbates the problem. As such, proper nutrition for men over 40 needs to focus on a high protein intake to support protein synthesis compared to younger men.

But the role of protein isn’t limited to strength and muscle growth. Protein is also needed for:

  • Hormonal balance
  • Appetite regulation
  • Weight loss
  • Bone health
  • Metabolism
  • Fat loss
  • Blood pressure

Given that things like weight loss, bone health, and metabolism are pain points for aging men, maintaining a balanced protein intake becomes doubly important.

Remember: Protein is essential for hormone balance and muscle growth, but a recent study published in Nutrition and Health found that excessive protein intake—we’re talking in amounts of 2.9g/kg or more—can decrease testosterone levels. 

How much protein should a man over 40 consume daily?

When it comes to proper nutrition for men over 40 and adequate protein intake, no exact number will be perfect for everyone. 

Most recommendations suggest the average adult requires around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, but requirements for men over 40 trying to counteract muscle loss are likely higher. 

So, what’s the magic number?

Most sources suggest between 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for men over 40. For an 80-kilogram (176-pound) man, that breaks down to between 96 and 160 grams of protein daily. 

That said, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the average protein intake for active individuals looking to maintain or build lean muscle mass should be between 1.6 g/kg and 2.4g/kg. 

Key takeaway Most men over 40 need between 1.2-2.0g/kg of protein, but more physically active men can increase that to 1.6-2.4g/kg. 

Unlike isolation movements that activate a single muscle group, compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups at once to complete the movement, so you’re replicating how your body would naturally move. For example, squatting is a full-body movement that engages all of the muscles in the lower body, the core, and some of the upper body.

How the Meta-Test Nutrition System comes into play

Navigating proper nutrition for men over 40 can feel like you’re in a never-ending corn maze, but the Meta-Test system makes it simple. Designed with the needs of men over 40 in mind, this system recognizes the importance of protein and offers a straightforward approach to ensure you hit your daily intake requirements.

The Meta-Test diet uses the concept of a ‘balanced plate.’ That means with every meal you’re including: 

  1. Starchy complex carbs
  2. Protein
  3. Healthy fats
  4. Fruits or veggies

Amounts will vary based on the individual, but including variety at every meal ensures you’re not only hitting your protein requirements but you’re also hitting every other macro and micronutrient needed to support muscle growth, fat loss, and hormone balance. That’s things like zinc, selenium, vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B12. 

But we also want to vary our protein sources to ensure we consume all essential amino acids. In the Meta-Test diet, we focus on consuming animal-protein sources, as they serve as a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids. In contrast, plant sources lack some amino acids, making them an incomplete source.

Some of my top recommendations for protein intake include: 

  • Chicken/turkey
  • Beef
  • Fish/seafood
  • Beans and legumes
  • Eggs
  • Grass-fed whey protein

That said, plant-based protein sources can be complete if they’re combined with a complementary protein that provides the missing amino acids. For example, rice and beans combined make a complete protein. 

Remember: Protein should be consumed at every meal. Spreading out your intake can maximize muscle protein synthesis throughout the day. 

8 Steps To Making The Perfect Healthy Smoothie

Wrapping up

There’s no question that protein is a powerhouse macronutrient, especially for men over 40. Meeting your daily protein requirements protects you against age-related muscle loss and positively impacts energy levels, metabolism, bone health, and so much more. With the Meta-Test Nutrition System, eating is made simple, making it effortless for men to consume the protein they need while enjoying delicious and easy meals.

Incorporate the principles of the Meta-Test Nutrition System into your daily life and power up with the right amount of protein to ensure you’re 40s and beyond are characterized by strength, vigor, and health.


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