Skip to main content

Eating Habits That Are Wrecking Your Body After 50, Say Dietitians

There are probably plenty of habits you partake in on a daily basis, but the tricky part about habits is that they become such a normal part of your routine that you usually don't even notice you are doing them. And while some habits are great for your health, like going for a morning walk or incorporating veggies into a home cooked breakfast, some habits can totally wreck your body—such as not sleeping enough, not getting enough fiber, or skipping meals. Not to mention the fact that the older you get, the longer the "not so great" habits continue, making them even harder to change. And unfortunately, there are some eating habits that are particularly bad for those in their 50s and beyond.

The reason that some habits can be worse as you enter your 50s and continue aging is mainly due to how your body undergoes changes. For instance, according to Medline Plus via the National Library of Medicine, you may start to lose lean tissue, your muscles may lose some cells, and your bones can become less dense—all of which can happen as early as your 30s! Not only that, but as you age, your weight may naturally begin to shift, and for many people, body fat can more easily increase. Medline recommends that along with getting regular exercise and limiting your consumption of alcohol, making sure to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet can help you slow the aging process.

So, if you're 50 years young, or somewhere close to it, what does a healthy diet include and what are some of the eating habits experts warn can have lasting consequences for your health as you age? Here are some common habits you may want to think about changing, and for more healthy aging tips, make sure to check out The 20 Worst Foods for Men Over 40.


Not watching your portion sizes

pasta dish

According to Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and member of our Medical Expert Board, your portion sizes matter as you age. "People over 50 are already susceptible to gaining weight more easily because you lose lean body mass as you age, which slows your metabolism down," says Young. "It is important to watch your portion sizes, because large portions contain more calories than small ones and can encourage overeating."

Research backs this up with multiple findings confirming that large portions can lead to weight gain. According to the British Nutrition Foundation, larger meals equal more energy intake, which ultimately leads to taking in too many calories. Another study, published in Advances in Nutrition, confirmed that portion size is a significant issue leading to more cases of weight gain and obesity.

RELATED: 60 Healthy, Low-Calorie Fast-Food Meals Under 500 Calories


Skipping meals

skipping meal—unhealthy eating habit after 50

Getting into the habit of skipping meals can easily go unnoticed, especially if you're running late or are extremely busy. However, this habit can unfortunately be harmful to your health as you age.

"Skipping meals (especially breakfast) can contribute to increased insulin resistance because going long periods of time without eating, then eating large amounts all at once, can contribute to bigger swings in blood sugar levels throughout the day," says Stephanie Hnatiuk RD, CDE, PTS. "Individuals who skip breakfast and/or lunch are more likely to consume excess calories in the late afternoon and evening, which can also contribute to weight gain."

Hnatiuk instead suggests eating three full meals a day when you can. If you know you're going to have a busy day, it can be helpful to prepare something ahead of time so you can grab it and take it on the go.


Not getting adequate protein

getting enough protein—good eating habit in your 50s

Getting enough protein in your diet is important for every person at any age, but it is an especially important eating habit for those in their 50s. "Protein is key for maintaining muscle mass, which you need for healthy aging," says Hnatiuk. "Because a decrease in muscle mass occurs with age, protein requirements increase as we get older." In fact, according to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, your body's protein tissue decreases an entire 10% by the time you reach 70.

Due to this increase in requirements, Hnatiuk suggests including a source of protein at every meal, "like eggs, Greek yogurt, fish, poultry, tofu, or beans."

RELATED: 8 Highest-Quality Proteins To Eat Every Day, Say Dietitians


Not eating enough fiber

fiber rich foods

Along with protein, fiber is another crucial nutrient in maintaining a healthy diet into your 50s. According to Hnatiuk, "Fiber plays a role in the health of our digestive system, improves fullness after meals, and helps to reduce spikes in blood sugars after we eat."

Not only that, but many different research studies have found that eating enough fiber plays an enormously significant role in living a longer life. One study published in the Journal of Gerontology discovered that out of all the factors studied—total carbohydrate intake, sugar intake, and fiber intake—total fiber had the greatest effect on "successful aging." Another study, which was published in Frontiers in Nutrition, found that dietary fiber may also help lower inflammation that leads to brain aging, therefore helping contribute to better cognitive health as you age.

However, despite fiber being such a necessary part of healthy living, many people aren't getting nearly enough on a daily basis. "To meet your fiber goal and get the benefits of fiber in your diet, make a habit of including fruits and or vegetables with every meal, and choose whole grains over white or refined grains as often as you can," says Hnatiuk. This is because when a whole grain is processed to make it white (for example, white bread), the fiber is often mostly or completely removed in the process.

RELATED: 10 Tasty Ways To Sneak More Fiber Into Your Diet


Eating too many inflammatory foods

inflammatory foods, eating habits after 50

It's important to pay attention to inflammation as you get older because it can lead to a number of different diseases if it turns chronic—many of which are associated with aging. According to a report published in Nature Medicine, these inflammatory diseases include kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

As we mentioned above, eating foods higher in fiber can help reduce inflammation in the body, but along with more fiber, limiting your consumption of pro-inflammatory foods is a helpful eating habit to have after 50. Some specific inflammatory items that you may want to limit as you age include sodas and sugary drinks, processed baked goods like cookies and cakes, refined carbohydrates like white bread, and processed meats.

A previous version of this story was published on December 4, 2021. It has been updated to include additional copy and proofreading revisions, additional research, and updated contextual links.

The post Eating Habits That Are Wrecking Your Body After 50, Say Dietitians appeared first on Eat This Not That.

Eat This Not That

Popular posts from this blog

These 5 Grocery Items Are Cheaper Than Ever Right Now

The grocery industry has been facing major disruptions. The combined effects of the pandemic, climate change, and economic uncertainty over the past couple of years have culminated in a series of supply chain breakdowns. For the consumer, this means supply shortages , shipping delays , and temporary store closures are becoming more commonplace – and all of the added production cost to suppliers is driving up food prices . The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index report for January 2022 was released on Feb. 9, and it tells the story of cost trends for every spending category over the past year. Now the numbers are in, and since January 2021, "food at home" spending has increased 7.4%. Consumers should use this number as a benchmark, Phil Lempert, the consumer behavior analyst and founder behind Supermarket Guru , told Eat This, Not That! "Anything that's substantially less [than the 7.4% increase] is a deal," said Lempert. "When you

When Should I Take Creatine?

Creatine is probably the most well-researched supplement on the market today. Numerous studies have found positive adaptations in strength, power and muscle mass thanks to creatine supplementation—especially when it's combined with resistance training. Although the benefits of creatine are well-known to lifters, the best time to take it isn't common knowledge. Which leads us to some important questions:     Does an optimal time for consuming creatine exist?     If it does, should you take it before or after your workout? According to a new study published in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition, the timing of creatine ingestion does indeed play a role in getting bigger and stronger. Creatine supplementation before resistance training increases muscular strength and lean muscle mass. Interestingly, taking creatine immediately after lifting weights results in greater muscle growth than taking it immediately before. However, in terms of strength gains, no difference betw

Reentry Anxiety Is Real - Why You May Experience It as Stay-at-Home Measures Ease

When the coronavirus stay-at-home orders began in March, most people's lives changed in immeasurable ways. At the time, we were bombarded with (admittedly, very helpful) advice on how to cope with anxiety , should we experience it during this time of social distancing and sheltering in place. But with restrictions slowly starting to ease in many parts of the world, there are many people who have seen an increase in anxiety all over again, this time about leaving their homes and reentering society. Posts about people's growing anxiety have been popping up around social media for the past couple of weeks, and it's given rise to the term "reentry anxiety." We wanted to find out exactly what reentry anxiety is, whether it's normal to be experiencing trepidation about leaving your stay-at-home orders, and how to cope if you are feeling anxious. What Is Reentry Anxiety? The short answer is that "post-lockdown anxiety is real," said Dr. Balu Pitchiah ,