|
|
Examiner
  • Caloric needs decrease with age, but nutrient needs increase

    • email print
  • Remember the old adage “You are what you eat?” It’s still true. As we age, our bodies need fewer calories than they did when we were younger, and it’s likely that many boomers are getting more calories than needed and from the wrong type of foods.
    Unfortunately, “most Baby Boomers are overweight or obese, so most are getting way too many calories,” said Susan Roberts, professor of nutrition and director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the USDA Nutrition Center on Aging in Boston. That’s why it’s important for us to understand what our bodies’ food requirements are, she said.
    Calorie requirements change as people reach their 50s and 60s, Roberts said. There’s “nothing magic that happens at age 50,” though, she said; “It’s really a continuous process from the beginning of being an adult” into our golden years. The number of calories you need each day depends on your age, gender and activity level.
    How many calories do adults over 50 need? Use the following as a guideline:
    A woman over 50 who is:
    - Not physically active needs about 1,600 calories a day.
    - Somewhat physically active needs about 1,800 calories a day.
    - Very active needs about 2,000 calories a day.
    A man over 50 who is:
    - Not physically active needs about 2,000 calories a day.
    - Somewhat physically active needs about 2,200-2,400 calories a day.
    - Very active needs about 2,400-2,800 calories a day.
    Source: National Institute of Aging
    The challenge to getting the right amount of calories “is that there is too much junk and too many huge portions” in the American diet, Roberts said. “It is easy to eat huge amounts of low-value foods, and of course fruits and vegetables and lean cuts of meat are more expensive,” she said.
    Instead, people should try and eat nutrient-packed foods to stay within calorie needs while meeting nutrient needs.
    In addition to nutrients, boomers should consider their levels of micronutrients, which are commonly referred to as vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iodine and vitamin C. “We have, if anything, higher micronutrient needs as we get older for most things and lower calorie needs, so it is important for health to eat fewer calories from junk foods,” Roberts said.
    Balanced nutrition is more than calorie counting, though. There are many other aspects to creating a nutritious lifestyle. Certified nutrition consultant Deborah Marcus of Roseville, Calif., advises “stop counting calories and start eating for health.” She offers the following tips for eating right:
    1. Cook your own food (use leftovers and take your food when away from home).
    2. Avoid refined, processed foods and fast food.
    3. Drink at least 35 oz. of filtered water a day.
    Page 2 of 2 - 4. Eat three main meals or five to six small meals daily.
    5. Divide your plate into three parts: cooked protein (eggs, yogurt, fish, chicken, beans and meat); raw or steamed vegetable greens; and whole carbohydrates (beans, legumes, quinoa, whole wheat).
    6. Consume one handful of raw nuts or one small avocado daily.
    7. Use organic butter, coconut oil or ghee for cooking.
    8. Use organic, first-pressed olive oil for dressings, salads, etc.
    9. Have at least two small portions of “naughty food” per week.
    10. Exercise daily for at least 15 minutes with a combination of cardiovascular, weights, walking, swimming, stretching, dancing or your favorite sport.
        • »  EVENTS CALENDAR