Newswise — CHICAGO – A new review published in the Journal of Food Science defines the causes, contributors and consequences of malnutrition in older individuals and suggests new food product development might mitigate or address the negative consequences of poor food intake in older adults.

“Decreased food intake and diminished physical ability are key contributors to malnutrition in older consumers. Some of the consequences of malnutrition in older consumers include cognitive decline, osteoporosis, muscle loss and increased frailty, all of which contribute to a loss of independence,” lead author Sinéad McCarthy explained.

The authors at the Teagasc Food Research Center in Ireland concluded research has provided convincing evidence of a link between healthy eating patterns and healthy aging. They suggest there is a need to target new food product development with functional health benefits specifically designed to address the food-related needs of older consumers.

“New foods should consider sensory characteristics such as appearance, taste, flavor, and texture. The addition of clean label functional ingredients such as plant proteins or using combinations of flavors, for example, tomatoes, soy, or garlic, to enhance the umami or flavor intensity of the product. Innovative packaging solutions and on pack communications should be designed and included at the early stage of new product development,” McCarthy said.

Read the Journal of Food Science abstract here.

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