Protein intake pattern over the day and its association with low total protein intake in Dutch community-dwelling older adults

Teuni H. Rooijackers, Marga C. Ocké, Linda M. Hengeveld, Marjolein Visser, Jolanda M.A. Boer

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Investigate protein intake patterns over the day and their association with total protein intake in older adults. Design: Cross-sectional study utilising the dietary data collected through two non-consecutive, dietary record-assisted 24-h recalls. Days with low protein intake (n 290) were defined using the RDA (<0.8 g protein/kg adjusted BW/d). For each day, the amount and proportion of protein ingested at every hour of the day and during morning, mid-day and evening hours was calculated. Amounts and proportions were compared between low and high protein intake days and related to total protein intake and risk of low protein intake. Setting: Community. Participants: 739 Dutch community-dwelling adults ≥70 years. Results: The mean protein intake was 76.3 (sd 0.7) g/d. At each hour of the day, the amount of protein ingested was higher on days with a high protein intake than on days with a low protein intake and associated with a higher total protein intake. The proportion of protein ingested during morning hours was higher (22 v. 17 %, P < 0.0001) on days with a low protein intake, and a higher proportion of protein ingested during morning hours was associated with a lower total protein intake (P < 0.0001) and a higher odds of low protein intake (OR 1.04, 95 % CI 1.03, 1.06). For the proportion of protein intake during mid-day or evening hours, opposite but weaker associations were found. Conclusions: In this sample, timing of protein intake was associated with total protein intake. Additional studies need to clarify the importance of these findings to optimise protein intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1415-1427
Number of pages13
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements: Not applicable. Financial support: Funding for this research was provided by the European Horizon 2020 PROMISS Project ‘Prevention of Malnutrition in Senior Subjects in the EU’, grant agreement no. 678732 (J.M.A.B., L.M.H., M.V.). The content only reflects the authors’ view, and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information the article contains. Conflict of interest: None. Authorship: T.H.R. and J.M.A.B. were responsible for the development of research questions and analysing the data. M.C.O. was one of the principal investigators of DNFCS–Older Adults and consulted for methodological and statistical advice. L.M.H. and M.V. contributed by providing their expertise in PEM in older adults. T.H.R. and J.M.A.B. wrote the article. The other authors commented on draft versions and approved the final version. Ethics of human subject participation: This study was conducted according to the guidelines laid down in the Declaration of Helsinki, and all procedures involving study participants were approved by the Ethics Committee of the University Medical Centre Utrecht. Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects.

Publisher Copyright:
© Authors 2020.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Dutch National Food Consumption Survey
  • Low protein intake
  • Older adults
  • Protein intake pattern


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