Monday 26 August 2019

Your diet in your 50s

Avocados are a good source of vitamin E
Avocados are a good source of vitamin E

Peta Bee

One of the unfortunate realities of getting older is that it's much harder to get away with overeating. Whereas you could get away with weekend binges at 20 or 30, it suddenly seems that every extra morsel that passes your lips seems to find some way of clinging to your frame as you enter the next few decades of life. It's no figment of your imagination, either.

The truth is you need less energy (or fewer calories) simply to survive at 50 than you did at 30 and the requirement decreases proportionately with the advancing years. General advice from nutritionists is to stick to 2,000 daily calories (or 2,500 for men) until you hit 51, when the suggestion is to cut your intake to 1,900 calories until age 75 when you can supposedly stay slim on 1,810 daily calories.

Dr Sarah Schenker- my co-author on The Ageless Body - and myself believe that most people can manage on 300-400 calories fewer than that. Our recommendation is not to 'eat on the go', to keep snacking to a bare minimum and to re-align your meal timings so that you stick to two or three main meals a day. There's plenty of evidence it's a healthy approach as you age. Findings by Czech Republic scientists suggested that two hearty meals a day achieved far better blood sugar control for people with Type 2 diabetes than constant nibbling on six daily mini meals. All volunteers in the 12-week study lost weight. Yet the findings, published in Diabetologia, showed that eating twice a day brought weightloss of around 3.7kg, compared with just over a 2.3kg for the snackers.

As age starts to take its toll on your skin, anti-oxidants in your diet assume more importance. Skin health depends on vitamin C (in fruit and vegetables), beta-carotene (in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables) and vitamin E (in avocados and wholegrains), as well as essential fatty acids in healthy oils (olive oil and rapeseed oil), nuts and seeds.

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