Diet & Nutrition
The Perils of Junk Food in Diets for Older Adults
The consumption of “junk food” has continued to increase over the last 20 years, including in anti-aging diets for older adults. In the beginning, the selection of junk food was found in a small area of the grocery store. Now, you’re presented with it in almost every corner, even at the checkout counter, which makes it that much harder to maintain healthy, nutritionally-dense diets for older adults.
Junk food can take many different forms, from snack foods like chips and donuts, to processed foods like frozen dinners and canned fruit.
Everyone knows that junk food is detrimental to anti-aging diets for older adults, but do you know why? To answer this question, we have to look at the common nutritional denominators in most junk foods. The quality of our aging experience is greatly influenced by the foods we chose to consume, and being able to single out these nutritional factors will help you determine what does and does not meet the appropriate nutritional needs for older adults.
Here’s what you need to know to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your anti-aging diet.
Sugar in Your Anti-Aging Diet
A lot of junk foods, particularly things like pastries, desserts, candy, soda, and breakfast cereals, are void of nutrients (so they don’t meet the nutritional needs for older adults) because they contain a higher concentration of sugar by caloric content. This means that the total amount of calories per serving size is predominantly composed of sugar, which is one of the most detrimental components in diets for older adults.
High fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, and dextrins all have a similar effect on our body; they all increase blood sugar and insulin levels very quickly and dramatically. This causes a great deal of body fat storage, elevation in blood pressure, and an increase in triglyceride levels. The continued over-consumption of simple sugars, especially in diets for older adults, also encourages the inflammatory response and the development of the metabolic syndrome. Plus, these “empty” calories in your anti-aging diet can adversely affect the areas of the brain that sense hunger, encouraging you to overeat.
The problem with sugar isn’t only that it does nothing for satisfying nutritional needs for older adults—it also has an impact on appearance. Too much sugar in your anti-aging diet encourages the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGE), which cause premature wrinkling of the skin, due to changes in the collagen structure of the dermis and the associated free-radical damage. Furthermore, the damage to your cells can lead to premature aging of the brain and other organs.
Trans Fat in Your Anti-Aging Diet