Losing weight at an advanced age: nutritional advice for the over 40s

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Of: Juliane Gutmann and Nicolai Hackbart

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Get rid of the cliché that you get fatter as you get older. With these nutrition tips, you stay slim – even at 40+.

  • Bad eating habits become fatal faster in old age.
  • What left no trace before, now makes you gain weight faster. The reason for this is a change in metabolic processes.
  • With these tips, you can stay slim and healthy and avoid dieting.

Updated on 13/12/2022: Do you automatically gain weight as you get older? Researchers have disproved this myth in a study. Energy expenditure “remains stable in adulthood (20 to 60 years), even during pregnancy; then it decreases in the elderly”, concludes the international research group, whose study is published on the specialized portal Science appeared. For their study, they analyzed the calorie consumption of about 6,600 people using urine tests. The results of the research would show that weight gain from the age of 30 cannot be attributed to metabolism. It is only from the age of 60 that the body would consume less energy. Scientists see the decline in muscle mass with age as a reason for lower energy requirements.

Update of 17/12/2020: It is a simply false myth that obesity can no longer be controlled in old age. This is the result of a study by the British University of Warwick. Researchers looked at how people who wanted to lose weight did while dieting and found that whether an overweight person loses weight by changing their diet and lifestyle has almost nothing to do with their age. . According to the Fitbook portal, 242 men and women who participated in a physician-supervised weight loss program for severely overweight people between 2005 and 2016 were selected for the study. The group of participants aged 60 to 78 had lost an average of 7.3% of their body weight. In contrast, the average for those under 60 was 6.9%. The researchers’ conclusion: Older age doesn’t mean losing weight has to be harder.

Article from 07/02/2020: Metabolism changes with the aging body

Many people can eat whatever they want without gaining weight. However, the metabolism changes with age and those who used to digest calories quickly can, from the age of 40, observe how the pounds accumulate faster on their own body. Do these or similar statements apply to you? Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) has put together some tips that will help you stay slim and healthy for a long time.

Healthy eating from 40 years old

Many 30-somethings will notice that calories that were easily stored are now stored in the body as fat. According to TK, this is due to the very natural fact that the body builds less muscle as we age. As a result, more fat is stored.

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The metabolism changes. However, this is not only due to aging, but also to the fact that we move less as we age. A simple solution is to exercise enough as you get older. According to Techniker Krankenkasse, three times a week, 30 minutes of “intensive physical activity” is recommended.

But the TK also gives the green light when the supposedly too high weight on the scale is scary. The older a person is, the more weight is acceptable to the body. The following table with the recommended body mass index (BMI) provides information.

19-24 19-24
25-34 20-25
35-44 21-26
45-54 22-27
55-64 23-28
from 65 24-29

How to calculate body mass index (BMI)?

The formula for BMI is as follows: BMI is body weight (in kilograms) divided by height (in meters) squared.

Example: A person measuring 1.6 meters weighs 60 kg. Your BMI is then 23.4

Tips for healthy eating in old age

However, sport is not everything. If you want to maintain your weight, you must also meet the decreasing energy needs of old age with reduced energy intake. You should keep this in mind every day:

  • Eating regularly avoids cravings and an “overdose” of calories.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake, as alcohol contains a lot of energy.
  • Many lemonades and colas also contain a lot of sugar. They should be consumed in moderation and not used as a thirst quencher.
  • Fruitcake instead of cream cake: Be sure to eat sweets and pastries in moderation. It quickly contains too much fat and sugar. Complete abstinence, however, can encourage food cravings.
Apparently, a healthy diet is internationally considered the key to a healthy lifestyle.  This is what 87% of the more than 4,500 consumers surveyed by management consultancy AlixPartners in Germany, the United States, China, Great Britain and France think.
A healthy diet is considered the key to a healthy lifestyle. © Jens Kalaene/dpa
  • Fresh product instead of finished product: Many finished products also contain a lot of fat or sugar. Therefore, prepare more fresh and homemade food. Here you know exactly what’s inside.
  • Whole grain products keep you fuller and regulate digestion.
  • Use low-fat products for dairy and meat products. Important nutrients are still included and low fat can help with weight control.

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