3 Common Myths About Nutrition for Older Adults


There’s no scarcity of recommendation on the market in regards to the dos and don’ts of diet — and maintaining with how these suggestions ought to or shouldn’t change as you age could be a problem. And in accordance with specialists, you’ll be able to’t consider every little thing you hear, both.

“There are some broadly accepted ideas on the market that may generally trigger extra hurt than assist,” says Paul Kriegler, RD, CPT, director of dietary product growth at Life Time.

We requested Kriegler to assist us debunk some widespread myths, present the information, and provide some sensible diet suggestions as we age.

Delusion No. 1: Older adults want much less protein than youthful individuals as a result of they’re much less lively.

Reality: Your protein wants truly improve as you become old. There are a couple of causes for this.

“As we age, our skill to digest protein turns into much less environment friendly, which suggests we want extra to assist the features in our physique,” Kriegler says. “Lean muscle and bone density loss additionally improve as we become old, particularly for those who’re not consuming sufficient energy or protein. One of the crucial essential issues you are able to do to fight that is to be sure to’re consuming sufficient high quality protein.”

What “sufficient” protein means may be totally different for various individuals, Kriegler explains.

“The quantity your physique requires relies on plenty of components, together with how lively you’re,” he says. “Aiming to devour one gram of protein per pound of your physique weight per day to assist your muscle tissue development, restore, and efficiency is an efficient start line for lively people.”

Getting ample protein also can allow you to really feel extra glad after meals, and enhance physique composition; it’s additionally an essential consider your physique’s pure cleansing course of.

When you’re seeking to improve your protein consumption, Kriegler recommends the next:

Study extra: “How A lot Protein Do I Want?”

Delusion No. 2: Older adults have to restrict their salt consumption.

Reality: You’ve doubtless heard of individuals limiting their salt consumption to enhance their blood strain, however Kriegler warns that, for many, limiting salt in your weight loss plan may cause extra points.

“Too little salt in your weight loss plan can result in a number of well being issues, together with insulin resistance, carbohydrate intolerance, dizziness, and elevated fall threat with instability,” Kriegler explains. “It’s additionally recognized to extend sugar cravings. Except you might have sure medical situations (notably together with kidney illness), enough ranges of sodium in your weight loss plan is crucial in your well being.

“Solely round 50 p.c of individuals see enhancements in blood strain with salt restriction, and enhancements are often minimal,” Kriegler provides. “Extra particularly, research present that sodium restriction solely appears to assist mildly decrease blood strain in these with insulin resistance. These with regular insulin sensitivity see no enhancements from strict salt avoidance.”

As with many consuming suggestions, the standard and supply of salt issues. The refined salt used to season most of the processed meals obtainable at present may be problematic — however  salt is just not sometimes a difficulty relating to the wholesome types used to enrich a whole-foods consuming strategy.

“When you’re consuming fewer extremely processed meals and extra healthful, potassium-rich fruits and veggies, you in all probability have extra latitude to season your meals with further salt — particularly for those who sweat commonly,” Kriegler advises. “We are able to lose one to 2 grams (1,000 to 2,000 milligrams) of sodium per hour of sweating.”

Study extra: “Salt’s Place In a Wholesome Weight loss program” and “6 Misconceptions About Blood Stress to Rethink”

Delusion No. 3: It’s too late for me to start out more healthy diet habits and for them make a distinction for my well being.

Reality: Irrespective of your age, it’s by no means too late to shift your habits or discover more healthy methods of residing.

“Your physique is consistently reevaluating and renewing itself even into older maturity,” says Kriegler. “When you’re getting enough diet — particularly protein — each construction in your physique rebuilds itself three to 4 instances per yr, so the earlier you begin making more healthy diet selections, the earlier you’ll really feel a distinction in your muscle groups and bones.”

When you’re seeking to give attention to more healthy diet, listed here are a few of Kriegler’s high ideas (past the No. 1 tip of getting sufficient protein) for getting began:

  • Refill on fibrous produce: Excessive consumption of fiber-filled veggies is related to decrease charges of persistent illness​. One of these produce is nutrient-dense, extremely satiating, and hydrating​ for the physique. (Study extra: “Learn how to Eat Extra Veggies”)
  • Hydrate effectively: Goal for half an oz of water per pound of your physique weight per day. And for those who’re exercising that day, you’ll want about an additional 16 to 24 ounces. (Study extra: “Why Hydration?”)
  • Construct a greater plate: When filling your plate for a meal, goal for the 4 constructing blocks of protein, wholesome fat, greens, and sophisticated carbohydrates. (Study extra: “Learn how to Construct a Wholesome Plate”)