Here’s the thing, you get older, you get wiser. And nutrient density in your diet becomes more critical. “In general, even though we need slightly fewer calories as we age, many of our requirements for protein, vitamins, and minerals remain the same as when we were younger and could consume more calories while maintaining our weight,” says Kristian Morey, RD, LDN, a Clinical Dietitian with the Nutrition and Diabetes Education program at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
“Yet research suggests that more than half of older adults consume more than the recommended amounts of added sugars and saturated fats (significant drivers of excess calories) and under-consume nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.”
So one of the best things you can do to protect and preserve your health? “One habit to adopt at any age (but certainly after 50) is swapping out soda and juice with dairy/plant-based milk or water with fruit or cucumber, and drinking plenty of it,” offers Morey.
Why the best drinking habit over 50 is to cut out sugary drinks
“As we get older we become more prone to dehydration — this is often due to factors such as decreasing thirst sensation and concerns about bladder control/limitations,” she continues, adding that for many who are 50 or older, making this change can reduce added sugar intake significantly and increase nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
“It may also improve constipation or bladder problems,” she states.
The benefits of drinking less sugar-sweetened beverages after 50
In her own practice that focuses on working with individuals with health issues such as diabetes and obesity, Morey shares that she’s seen some patients even achieve normal or nearly normal blood sugars following a diabetes diagnosis, simply by stopping soda and juice.
“Some of my patients have also observed that reducing added sugars and focusing on drinking water has relieved constipation, reduced sugar cravings, and assisted with excess weight loss,” she shares.
Always consult your doctor before making any drastic diet changes
Morey adds the caveat that talking to your doctor about hydration is important to answer any questions or concerns with your personal health issues in mind.
“Of course, some of my patients must be careful since they have compounding health conditions such as heart failure or advanced kidney disease, which can lead to fluid overload,” she notes.
Drink water, add fruit or cucumber, some herbs like mint or basil if you think it’s bland, and eliminate soda and fruit juice with added sugars to your diet pronto. Still need more convincing to give up your beloved cuppa soda? Read the dangerous side effects of drinking soda every day, according to science, and raise your cucumber-adorned water glass to health and wellness.
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