The Association between Total Protein and Vegetable Protein Intake and Low Muscle Mass among the Community-Dwelling Elderly Population in Northern Taiwan
Sarcopenia, highly linked with fall, frailty, and disease burden, is an emerging problem in aging society. Higher protein intake has been suggested to maintain nitrogen balance. Our objective was to investigate whether pre-sarcopenia status was associated with lower protein intake. A total of 327 community-dwelling elderly people were recruited for a cross-sectional study. We adopted the multivariate nutrient density model to identify associations between low muscle mass and dietary protein intake. The general linear regression models were applied to estimate skeletal muscle mass index across the quartiles of total protein and vegetable protein density. Participants with diets in the lowest quartile of total protein density (<13.2%) were at a higher risk for low muscle mass (odds ratio (OR) 3.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.37–6.72) than those with diets in the highest quartile (≥17.2%). Similarly, participants with diets in the lowest quartile of vegetable protein density (<5.8%) were at a higher risk for low muscle mass (OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.14–4.83) than those with diets in the highest quartile (≥9.4%). Furthermore, the estimated skeletal muscle mass index increased significantly across the quartiles of total protein density (p = 0.023) and vegetable protein density (p = 0.025). Increasing daily intakes of total protein and vegetable protein densities appears to confer protection against pre-sarcopenia status.