Much has been achieved by recent research to increase understanding of the links between nutrition and muscle health. Focusing on muscle strength as the key component of sarcopenia, the aim of this overview was to evaluate its links to nutrition, both to variation in habitual diets in older populations, as well as considering supplementation effects in trials. A main message from the reviewed studies is that while many provide suggestive evidence of benefits of higher nutrient intakes and diets of higher quality, findings are inconsistent, and data on muscle strength are often lacking. To assess the potential of optimising diets as a strategy to promote and maintain muscle strength, gaps in current evidence need to be addressed. These include the need for (i) better understanding of individual differences in responsiveness to dietary change, and the need for targeted nutritional support; (ii) clearer distinction between protective and therapeutic actions of diet; and (iii) definition of the role of dietary patterns and their influence on muscle strength, to allow effects of changes in food consumption to be evaluated—particularly when combined with physical activity. Development of this evidence is needed to enable translation into appropriate dietary recommendations for older populations.
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