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Is Fewer Calories and More Protein Recommended for Older Adults?

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Is Fewer Calories and More Protein Recommended for Older Adults?

October 18
18:58 2017

WOW! Go to your internet search engine and type in ‘diets for seniors’ and you’ll find so many different diets, all claiming to be better for people 40 and over. You can find diets high in fiber, high in protein, low in protein, high in veggies and fruits, low carb and many, many more.

One thing you need to know is that not all carbs are bad. I am constantly correcting people who say how bad carbs are or how they are cutting carbs. You need to look at carbs (carbohydrates) several ways.

All fruit and vegetables are carbs, as are breads, potatoes, rice and other grains. You need to realize that everything you consume – food and drink – fall into one or more of three categories – carbs, proteins and fats.

I’m constantly trying to educate people that there are good carbs and bad carbs. The difference is how the carbs break down. Some carbs break down quickly once you consume them. This causes a quick increase of blood glucose, which usually leads to a sudden drop in blood glucose a short time, which is why so many people get drowsy after eating these bad carbs. Good carbs are those that break down slowly, helping to maintain a more constant level of blood glucose. To many people, this may not matter, but if you are a diabetic, pre0diabetic or hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic this is very important.

Saying all that, I chose one diet I saw listed for seniors and wanted to share what they say and add my comments.

“For Amy Campbell, a registered dietitian and diabetes educator, the DASH, TLC and Mediterranean diets stood out as smart choices for older adults, because they’re good for weight loss as well as controlling conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.”

“As with anyone, overweight and obesity can be issues for seniors, Campbell says. ‘People are living longer, so we’re seeing more of it in older adults.’ And, she says, “As we get older, our calorie needs go down. People don’t need to eat as much as they did when they were 20 or 30.’ Older women generally need anywhere from 1,600 to 2,200 calories per day, depending how active they are, Campbell says, while younger women need about 1,800 to 2,200 daily. For older men, the range is 2,000 to 2,800 calories per day, compared with 2,200 to 3,200 calories for younger men’.”

“Frail elderly people face different issues. ‘One concern for older people is getting enough protein,’ Campbell says. ‘We need more as we age.’ A lack of protein puts people at risk for lower immune function and osteoporosis.”

Getting enough protein is important, but you need to be careful eating too much protein. Last year when I went on a strict diet, at first, I ate mostly protein (chicken and fish) and veggies. I lost lots weight, especially when I added exercising (walking 1-2 times every day), but after a couple of months, I developed back pain in the area of my kidneys. I found out that it was due to too much protein, which puts stress on the kidneys. I was advised to cut back on the amount of protein I was consuming and to add a supplement – chromium to my diet. Actually, it was recommended that I use chromium picolinate, which is found at most stores that sell vitamins and supplements.

When I cut back on the amount of protein and began taking the chromium picolinate, the kidney pains went away.

Personally, I believe a balances diet of about 60% good carbs, 30% proteins and 10% fat is a healthy diet plan to follow. As for how many calories a day, that’s up to the individual. People who start out very overweight, will need to reduce their calories at a different rate that others that are only slightly overweight. It also depends upon your body size (height, bone structure, etc.), sex and age. Talk to your doctor, a dietician or nutritionist. You can also research online, but be careful and don’t just take one source and run with it, but look at a number of sources and figure out what would work best for you.

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