Top 10 Nutrition Mistakes Made By People Age 50+
Updated: Oct 16
Are you frustrated with extra weight around the middle, low energy levels, and chronic pain and inflammation?
If so, you're not alone. MOST American's struggle with weight problems. Diabetes is on the rise. Check out the graph below. The way things are trending indicates we are in big trouble.
Yet, we've been dutifully following the advice we've been given by the government. We eat more whole grains, more vegetable oil and less meat and dairy than ever. Yet we are getting sicker and fatter.
So what gives?
Well, we are making some very simple mistakes. With a few subtle shifts we can fix a broken metabolism, jump-start the weight loss process, and get our energy back.
1. Choosing Low Fat
Low fat yogurt, milk, 99% lean ground turkey, and boneless, skinless, chicken breast have become the staples of health.
Our great grandparents would be flabbergasted at our obsessions with removing fat from foods.
Fat is essential for having a healthy metabolism, keeping our brain functioning optimally, and it is packed with nutrients. Removing it from the American diet has been a big driver of the obesity and diabetes epidemics we've seen in the last 60 years.
For optimal health, choose full-fat yogurt, cheese, and milk, meat with the skin on, and prioritize other fats like nuts and seeds, avocados, and healthy oils.
2. Eating Heart-healthy ❤️ whole-grains in abundance
When American's began to make the switch from full-fat to low fat, naturally they needed to replace those fat calories with something. The recommendation from the government was "heart-healthy" whole grains like whole-wheat bread, pasta, cereal, and brown rice. America listened. Grain consumption is up 41% since 1970.
But grains, like all carbs, turn into sugar in our blood stream and spike the hormone insulin. Insulin's job is to get sugar out of your blood and store it as fat. The more we spike insulin, the more fat we store.
Today's grains are also drastically different from the home made bread our ancestors ate with their homemade soup. Many grains today contain toxic anti-nutrients that lead to rampant inflammation in our bodies.
3. Missing fermented foods
Keefir, Sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers and kimchi are all great ways to add a HUGE new dimension of flavor and nutrient profile to your cooking and nutrition. They help our gut microbiome to be healthy. Gut health has been linked to everything from obesity to Alzheimer's.
As with most foods, you’re going to have to spend a little extra money to get the good stuff. Bubbies is our favorite brand because their sauerkraut and pickles are made without vinegar, elevating the probiotic content significantly. Organic Pastures is our go-to for Keefir.
4. Viewing fruit and veggies as equal
These ain’t your great grandma's bananas. Fruit consumption today looks drastically different from 100 years ago. Just a few generations previous, fruit was only available locally and seasonally. And that’s how we were made to consume it. Today, we can have just about any fruit we want at every meal AND fruit has been modified to be sweet and eye-appealing as opposed to maximally nutritious. Fruit is high in sugar and like we talked about earlier, sugar spikes insulin. Insulin stores fat.
So, prioritize VEGGIES over fruit. And choose berries over other types of fruit.
5. Not buying grass-fed or pasture-raised because it's too expensive
You are what you eat. Better said, you are what your food eats. The environment your food lived in is transferred to you. A cow that is fed grass or a chicken which has been raised on pasture will have a massively different ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats. Inside your body this will be the difference between increasing or decreasing inflammation.
Most people look at buying high quality food completely irrationally. They have an anchor in their head for what things should cost based on conventional, government subsidized foods and even though they can afford to buy better, they choose not to.
Our top three budget friendly well-sourced picks:
100% Grass Fed Ground Beef is the cheapest way to get well-sourced beef. A $10 pound feeds our 5-person family for dinner no problem.
Pasture Raised eggs...they are WAY more expensive than conventional eggs, but still very cost effective per serving for the nutrition you get. At $8/dozen if you eat two eggs for breakfast, you're looking at $1.30 for the meal. Still much less than an egg McMuffin.
Wild-caught fish is very reasonably priced.
6. Not reading labels
The "health" food market is booming. Not every product that says "natural" or "healthy" is actually natural or healthy.
You have to read lables. Look for vegetable oils (yes even organic, expeller pressed canola is extremely toxic) and stabalizers like guar gum, xanthan gum, etc and sugar (even organic can sugar from an American farm is still sugar).
Check these out. They have protein, fiber, are USDA Organic and have that "healthy" look to their packaging.
Yet, look at this ingredient list:
Organic Chickpea Flour, Organic Rice Flour, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Seasoning [Brown Rice Flour*, Salt, Sugar*, Onion Powder*, Citric Acid, Garlic Powder*, Rice Concentrate*, Lactic Acid, Canola Oil*, Natural Flavor], Organic Pea Hull Fiber. *Organic Ingredients.
7. Unknowingly eating vegetable oil
Most folks I talk to on the phone or meet with no longer cook with vegetable oil or vegetable oil sprays, but they unknowingly eat it in their salad dressings, cereals, protein bars/powders, and many other processed foods.
Watch out for...
Olive oil (low heat only)
Even some "Olive Oil" dressings have canola. I'm looking at you, Paul Newman!
8. Eating 6 small meals a day
We’ve been misled to believe that eating 6 small meals a day, or worse, “grazing” all day is the ideal way to time meals. Wrong! This is the digestive equivalent to taking a bunch of naps instead of getting a good night’s sleep. Just like sleep, digestion is a process regulated by circadian rhythms. We must respect these rhythms if we want to thrive. So where did this idea of small frequent meals come from?
Unfortunately, in a world where carb and sugar consumption is out of control, eating lots of tiny meals was suggested as a way to help regulate blood sugar. But that's kind of like telling someone in rehab to drink a shot of liquor every other hour instead of chugging a bottle of vodka. It might prevent acute alcohol poisoning, but it's far from a cure. With most Americans drowning in a diabetes crisis, spreading sugars throughout the day prevents catastrophic spikes in blood sugar, but in order to solve the root problem we have to get carbs off our plates (like we talked about above).
To optimize fat burn and to maximize healthy, eat 3 or less meals per day. In between meals, don't eat. Drink water, coffee or tea. Your metabolism will sustain you.
9. Not drinking enough water
You know it's important. Water is crucial for just about every process in the human body. Yet many of us simply don't drink enough. Why don't most people drink enough water? They simply forget. We are walking around chronically dehydrated simply because we don't put water in our path. So change that. Get yourself a big water bottle and set a reminder to fill it up each morning.
Get 64 oz. per day minimum.
10. Obsessing about calories in vs. calories out
It's all about calories in vs. calories out right? Wrong. Research shows that by cutting 1000 calories a day out of your diet, your metabolism will slow by as much as 30% to make up the difference. This is why the Biggest Loser contestants almost always gain the weight back.
Feel free to keep track of your calories, but make sure you're also following all of the tips laid out above.
To your health,
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