It seems like the topic of dietary changes as one enters adulthood (and beyond) is all the talk this week. As I normally do, I was browsing around Google News for discussion on diet-related topics and came across two separate articles back to back on this very topic.
The first is from the University of Minnesota in this article that talks about the changes they’ve recorded in peoples’ diets as they move from adolescence into their young adulthood. The second, found here on prevention.com, talks about what you should be doing with your diet as you move up in age.
Let’s take a look at both of what these say – no matter what stage of your life you are in right now (as well as the age of your children, if applicable), I’m sure there are many things that you can glean from this information and implement into your life to live healthier.
Changes to Your Diet as You Age
Let’s tackle the first article, from the University of Minnesota, as it tackles the earlier stage in life, and then move on to the second article that provides guidance for adult years and beyond.
How Does Diet Change as Children Grow Up?
As mentioned above, this news from the U of MN is about a study that they conducted whereby they studied the eating habits adolescents and followed them into adulthood to see what changes they were making, if any. This is an important time in anyone’s life, as they are quite formative years – they become more mature and independent during this time – and it can lead to habits and choices that they will make in regards to their diet going forward into their adult years.
They tracked the changes by seeing how closely their food and drink intake matched up with the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines. This is a dietary tool that helps recommend food and beverage intake. By seeing how closely, or how not closely, their diets aligned with what MyPlate recommends, they can then make recommendations on ways to improve each person’s nutrition.
They particularly took a look at four food groups that are essential but tend to be not be consumed enough. These are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy. All of the data was gathered from Project EAT, a longitudinal study that gathered nutritional data from people as young as adolescence and up into young adulthood.
It was found, not surprisingly, that adolescents and young adults tend to stray from the guidelines of MyPlate. What kid doesn’t like to snack? Back at that age, fruits and vegetables are something to be ignored in the eyes of many, no matter how many times your parents tell you to eat them. Another takeaway is that females generally adhered to the guidelines much more closely, with the exception of dairy intake. I can imagine this has to do with boys drinking more milk to help them grow bigger and stronger.
The most important takeaway, however, is that the adolescents that were reported in the lower quartile (in terms of how well they followed MyPlate guidelines) also tended to continue to be in the lower quartile as they entered young adulthood. It seems that food habits are had to break, and enforcing healthier food options at a younger age can set the path to continue to make wise food choices as you get older.
What Diet Changes Should You Make as You Age?
The other article linked above talks about changes that you should make in your diet as you get older. As we age, our body composition changes, our needs change, and we need to make alterations to our nutritional intake to better take care of ourselves. Of course, all along the way it is important to be getting nutrient-rich food and making healthy choices, but here are some of the tips provided in the article:
- Eating more protein: Our bodies lose muscle mass as we get older, so it is important to up the protein intake to maintain and build our musculature. Try to get around 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight as a general rule.
- Cut Your Caloric Intake: As we get older, our metabolism slows down. You won’t burn calories as quickly and efficiently as you did in your younger years. All of these calories that aren’t burned off for energy just become fat stores (particularly in troublesome areas like your belly, hips, and thighs). The article recommends cutting your caloric intake by 10% per decade, so if you are at 2,000 calories per day as when you’re 40, you’ll want to be at 1,400 per day when you’re 70. Just make sure those calories are made up of healthy food. If you’re having trouble cutting calories, consider a diet pill such as PhenQ (reviewed here) that can help curb your appetite and boost your metabolism.
- Add More Vitamin B12 to Your Diet: It becomes more difficult for our bodies to absorb nutrients as we get older, and one of the most stubborn nutrients where this is especially the case is Vitamin B12. This is an essential vitamin that aids in blood cell formation, nerve function, and cell metabolism. Great sources of this nutrient are meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy, so be sure to add healthy doses of those to your diet so you can get your recommended 2.4 micrograms of this vitamin daily.
- Get Calcium and Vitamin D: While these two nutrients aren’t as stubborn as B12, they are both highly important and it is critical that you get enough of them in your diet. Calcium, as you probably know, helps to support stronger bones, which is the same for Vitamin D as well. We all know the stories of an older person falling and breaking their hip because their bones are so weak. Don’t let that be you – make sure you are getting enough of these in your diet to keep your bones strong. Following up on my mention of PhenQ diet pill above, you can also find nutrients like these in diet pills like Phen24 (read my review here).
- Drink Enough Water: This is important at any age, but especially as you get older. Our bodies are overwhelmingly comprised of water and it is vital for supporting just about every bodily function. If you want your body to be healthy and continue functioning properly, make sure that you are drinking enough water. Shoot for 9 cups of water per day or around 2 liters – whichever is easier to remember.