Trendy plant-based diets linked to frailty in older adults

The plant-based, “fake meat” movement has gotten out of control. And if it continues to gain followers, it will have some dire health consequences for our country.

Let me be clear: Science shows a balanced diet, with plenty of animal protein and fat, is critical for good health. Especially as you get older. In fact, two new studies have spotlighted just how vitally important a good diet is to older people.

So, let’s get right to it…

Exploring link between diet and frailty

In the first new study, researchers looked at the association between diet and frailty among more than 2,000 U.S. adults, ages 70 to 81 years, over a four-year period.

They assessed diet quality by using the Healthy Eating Index, a standard diet index, and a food frequency questionnaire that assessed protein intake. And they defined “frailty” as showing at least three of these five health issues:

  • Unwanted weight loss of more than 5 percent body weight during the prior year
  • Weak hand grip strength or too much joint pain to complete the grip
  • Regular exhaustion during daytime
  • Slow walking speed
  • Physical inactivity

At the study’s outset, researchers categorized just over 1,000 of the participants as “robust” because they didn’t show any signs of physical frailty. But more than 1,300 of the participants did show at least one or two signs of frailty at the study’s outset and were categorized as “pre-frail.”

Four years later, the researchers checked back in on all of the participants. It turns out, 277 of the original 2,000 had become frail. And, among the group that started out in robust condition, 629 had become either “pre-frail” or “frail.”

Plus, people who had poor-quality diets were 50 percent more likely to become frail compared to those with high-quality diets. And those with medium-quality diets were 40 percent more likely to become frail.

Protein intake is key

Researchers also looked specifically at protein intake. And while the findings didn’t suggest an association between protein intake and lower frailty risk, researchers noted that they felt protein intake was important, as it helps slow down the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with aging.

Indeed, another recent study did find a strong link between consuming more animal protein and a lower frailty risk. Specifically, they found that participants who consumed more than 1 gram of animal protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight had a 45 percent lower risk of become “pre-frail” over a three-year period. And they found no improvement associated with consuming more plant protein.

This study’s finding about the benefits of animal protein confirms what I’ve been trying to hammer home a lot lately…

Protein helps men and women maintain—and even build—muscle mass as they get older. Plain and simple. And research suggests you need twice the government’s recommended daily allowance of protein, especially if you are an older man, to maintain muscle mass.

On the other hand, plant proteins—as found in all the over-hyped “fake” meats—tend to be incomplete. In other words, the plants do not contain all the different amino acids required for human nutrition, energy, and muscle mass.

Unfortunately, that biological fact doesn’t fit most health experts’ politically correct narrative. So, they conveniently leave it out.

In the end, my advice remains the same…

Continue giving your body what it really wants and needs—real meat, full-fat dairy from organically raised, free-range, grass-fed cattle and poultry, fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and beans. Dietary supplements have also been shown to support measures of physical performance associated with frailty, such as improved grip strength, walking, physical activity, and vitality.

Plus, you can learn all about simple, common-sense strategies for staying vibrant, youthful, and healthy well into your 70s, 80s, and beyond in The Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age.” To learn more about this innovative online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!


“Prospective Associations of Diet Quality With Incident Frailty in Older Adults: The Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2019. 67(9)1835-1842.

Higher protein intake is associated with a lower likelihood of frailty among older women, Kuopio OSTPRE-Fracture Prevention Study. Eur J Nutr. 2019 May 7. DOI: 10.1007/s00394-019-01978-7