These 5 Health “Facts” Sabotage People Over 50

By Ashley Nolan | 13 January 2020 327 views
nutrition myths

Learn The Truth About Nutrition After 50

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It’s true—your body doesn’t digest or metabolize food the same after 50 as it did before.

I noticed a big difference when I turned 40. But I also found that with a few minor adjustments… I could enjoy many of the same food and the same energy level I always had.

In the past, you may have been able to chow down on donuts, pasta, and desserts without packing on the pounds. But as you approach and pass 50, you might find all of that changes.

Maintaining your usual weight may be more challenging. In fact, as menopause approaches, you might find the transition gets even more difficult.

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There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that significant weight gain can have serious implications for your health.

The good news, though, is that weight gain is not inevitable.

While there’s no magic formula, you’ll have far more success if you ignore the following common myths. In fact, by correcting these misconceptions, you’ll also enjoy better health.

MYTH ONE: Since I’m older, I need less sleep.

It may seem like you need less sleep because you get up earlier and go to sleep earlier.

But research shows your need does not change as you grow older. In fact, it might be that you don’t get the right amount of sleep.

Sleep patterns change significantly as you age. It may be harder to go to sleep at night and stay asleep.

This often goes along with a shift in your circadian rhythm. This is the medical term for the 24-hour internal clock that runs your body.

It helps your brain cycle between going to sleep and being alert. Some call it the sleep/wake cycle. 

Even as you reach 50 and beyond, you continue to need 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

The problem with sleeping less is it is linked to gaining weight. 

Less sleep means a slower metabolism and eating more. Have you ever noticed that when you’re really tired… you tend to snack more to raise your energy level? When you don’t get enough sleep, it may be linked to weight gain. 

Do you think you’re getting more done by sleeping less? Unfortunately, this habit is likely causing more weight gain and making you less productive.

MYTH TWO: Strength training is only for bodybuilders.

Cardio exercise does burn calories. And it may help you sleep better and keep the weight off.

But it’s muscle loss, called sarcopenia, that may have a bigger impact on how much you can eat without gaining weight.

This is because strong muscles burn more calories. You even burn more calories when you’re resting and not working out!

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This changes your basal metabolic rate (BMR)—or the number of calories your body burns if you don’t move all day.

As you approach and pass 50, your BMR goes down. 

One of the major reasons your BMR falls with age is shrinking muscle mass. This loss of muscle starts around age 30.

You may lose as much as 5% every decade. By your 50th birthday, you could have lost 10% of the muscle you had at 25!

The good news is that while you MAY lose 5% every decade, you don’t have to. To keep your muscles, you must use them beyond what comes naturally every day.

Strength training increases your lean body muscle and helps shrink fat. One study found an increase in metabolic rate after a short 16-week strength training program. 

And you don’t have to hit the gym three days a week to get these results!

Instead, there are many body-weight exercises you can do at home with very little to no equipment. For instance, you don’t need equipment to work your upper body, shoulders, and core using just one exercise.

The push-up is a nearly total body workout. If you have little upper body strength to start, begin by doing push-ups against the wall, standing up. As you gain strength, move to the floor, doing them on your knees.

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Next, move to doing regular push-ups. When these get too easy for you, put your feet on an incline… gradually increasing the height over time.

You’ll be surprised at how much strength you’ll gain in a short amount of time!

MYTH THREE: I don’t have to drink until I’m thirsty.

On average, the human body is 65% water, most of which is in the cells. It makes sense then your body needs water for:

  • Temperature regulation
  • Metabolism
  • Waste removal
  • Blood circulation

Staying hydrated may make you feel full longer and help you cut back on poor snack habits.

And it may also increase your metabolism. One study found that drinking 68 ounces (2 liters) of water a day increased the amount of energy people burned.

The researchers called it “water-induced thermogenesis”… or the ability of more water in the body to burn more calories. But, before you start drinking water every hour, let’s also talk about water intoxication.

More water may not always be better.

Goldilocks had it right. She tested one bed that was too soft… another was too hard… and last was exactly what she wanted.

Just as you may not be drinking enough water each day, you may also be overdoing it.

Drinking too much is called water poisoning, water intoxication, hyperhydration, or overhydration. But whatever you call it… drinking too much water can be fatal.

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In the early stages, it looks a bit like having drunk too much alcohol.

But it may also lead to seizures, coma, and death.

So, how do you know how much to drink?

If you wait until you’re thirsty to drink water, you’re already in the early stages of becoming dehydrated. Some of the side effects of dehydration are rising blood sugar and a reduced ability to do mental problems.

The best way to drink enough water, but not too much, is to look at your urine. It should be a light yellow, or the color of straw.

If it’s clear, then you’re drinking too much water. If it’s darker, you need more water.

MYTH FOUR: Supplements can take the place of healthy nutrition.

Supplements are a good way to get the extra vitamins and minerals that may no longer be in the plant and animal food on your table. Soil depletion, pesticides, confined animal feeding operations, and processed foods have all taken a toll on health.

However, vitamins and minerals are meant to be a supplement to your nutrition and can never take the place of a healthy diet. Just as you can never out-exercise overeating, you also will not be able to take enough supplements to make up for the chemicals and added sugars in processed foods.

To get the most nutrition from the food you eat, it’s important to eat as much whole food as possible. This also helps reduce your risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

In addition to this, adding a high-quality multivitamin with a probiotic and extra fiber may all help support your health and weight loss efforts.

Addressing Nutrition After 50 Takes Just A Few Tweaks

Although your metabolism may be different after 50, the basics are the same. By making a few small tweaks… such as getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, building muscle, and not relying on supplements… you can enjoy it.

And you don’t have to accept “middle-aged spread” as inevitable.

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A growing body of evidence shows some foods are not nearly as healthy as you’ve been told. So, you may want to switch out some of your favorite foods for new favorites.

The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice taste and satisfaction for health and weight loss.

MYTH FIVE: No snacking before bedtime.

One of the myths that drives me absolutely insane… (especially as someone who LOVES snacking)… is that you’re “not supposed to eat right before bed.”

Or you’ll gain weight… your metabolism will slow down… all those calories stick to your problem areas…

Almost everyone is convinced it’s true. But…

Did you know there’s actually no science to support this???

It’s true… and while I was Googling it, I actually found a study that proved the OPPOSITE is true.

That’s right. Eating a snack before bed can actually help you lose weight. 

The study in question was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and found that people who ate a protein-packed snack before bed burned, on average, 441 more calories per day.

(To put that in perspective, that’s an entire chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a… plus one extra calorie to boot!)

I was even more impressed when I read that the people in the study weren’t told to diet, or stop eating their favorite foods… and STILL lost weight, just by eating more protein.

Eating more to lose weight sounds pretty great to me. Especially when I’m told to snack before bed!

So if you’d like to know the exact amount of protein to eat for MAX weight loss… plus two other fast, easy things you can do to increase your metabolism while you sleep (I promise you won’t see the word “treadmill” anywhere)…

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