Effective translation of current dietary guidance: understanding and communicating the concepts of minimal and optimal levels of dietary protein

Abstract

Dietitians and health care providers have critical roles in the translation of the dietary guidance to practice. The protein content of diets for adults can be based on the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 0.80 g/kg per day. Alternatively, the most recent Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for macronutrients reflect expanded guidance for assessing protein needs and consider the relative relation of absolute amounts of protein, carbohydrate, and fat to total energy intake in the context of chronic disease prevention. The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) reflects the interrelation between the macronutrients and affords dietitians and clinicians additional flexibility in diet planning. Accounting for the caloric value of RDAs for carbohydrate and fat, “flexible calories” emerge as an opportunity to create varied eating plans that provide for protein intakes in excess of the RDA but within the AMDR. Protein Summit 2.0 highlighted the growing body of scientific evidence documenting the benefits of higher protein intakes at amounts approximating twice the RDA, which include promotion of healthy body weight and preservation of lean body mass and functional ability with age. The essential amino acid (EAA) density of a food also emerged as a novel concept analogous to “nutrient density,” which can enable the practitioner to calculate the caloric cost associated with a specific protein source to attain the daily requirement of EAAs to accomplish various health outcomes because these indispensable nutrients have a significant role in protein utilization and metabolic regulation. Tailoring recommendations unique to an individual’s varying goals and needs remains a challenge. However, flexibility within the application of DRIs to include consideration of the AMDR provides a sound framework to guide practitioners in effective translation of current dietary guidance with a specific regard for the documented benefits of higher protein intakes. Am J Clin Nutr doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084095.

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@inproceedings{Rodriguez2015EffectiveTO, title={Effective translation of current dietary guidance: understanding and communicating the concepts of minimal and optimal levels of dietary protein}, author={Nancy Rodriguez and Sharon L Miller}, year={2015} }