Seniors, protect your muscles, eat meat well

Rare or medium? A study reveals that for the elderly, it is better to cook meat well to take full advantage of the proteins it contains, and thus fight more effectively against sarcopenia (muscle wasting).

If cooking can alter the content of certain heat-sensitive nutrients, or even cause the appearance of toxic substances, it can also make certain dishes edible, facilitate digestion, and therefore increase the extraction of certain nutrients and energy and fight against sarcopenia.

Previous work has shown that cooking meat has a rather favorable effect on protein digestion, but without this having any real importance on the protein metabolism of young adults. But with age, the ability to digest protein decreases, as shown in this study by French researchers published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Well-cooked meat better assimilated by seniors

In this experiment, 10 people aged 70 to 82 each received, on two separate occasions, 30 g of nitrogen-labeled beef, prepared according to two cooking methods: barely cooked (5 minutes at 55° C) or well cooked (30 minutes at 90°C). The meat was then minced in both cases.

The results of all the measurements carried out converge to indicate that undercooked meat has a lower bioavailability than that which has been well cooked. Thus, with undercooked meat, the plasma concentration of essential amino acids, the rate of leucine entry from meat into the plasma and the contribution of nitrogen from meat to plasma amino acids are lower than with well-done meat.

Fight against sarcopenia

The authors also highlight a lower postprandial protein synthesis of the whole body with undercooked meat (40% of leucine intake) compared to well-cooked meat (56% of leucine intake). . In short, in the elderly, the proteins of uncooked or undercooked meat seem to be less well utilized.

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Given the importance, in the elderly, of maintaining sufficient muscle mass and fighting against sarcopenia, the authors believe that they should be recommended to consume well-cooked meat.


Buffiere C. et al. In the elderly, meat protein assimilation from rare meat is lower than that from meat that is well done. Am J Clin Nutr


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