5 myths about age and healthy eating

Maintaining a healthy diet is essential whatever your age, but as we get older there are a number of misconceptions about food and nutrition - here we dispel some of those myths to help you keep healthy throughout your later years.  

Your stomach gets smaller the older you get

A common myth about old age is that your stomach reduces in size, and therefore you need to eat less.  Although your stomach size doesn’t actually change, you may find that your appetite does reduce and you may find yourself less hungry.  

However, you should still try to eat healthy, nutritious meals at regular intervals, as it’s this food that helps you fuel your body with energy.

You should lose weight to stay healthy

If you’re carrying round a few extra pounds then you may be inclined to try and lose it by dieting. 

As we get older, dieting should be avoided unless you have been advised to do so by a health professional.  If the weight loss is unintentional then speak to your GP if you are worried.

You must stick to a low-fat diet

Throughout our lives it has been drummed into us to pick the low-fat option wherever possible.  However, a low-fat diet is not always the best approach, especially for older people. 

Not all fats are bad – some fats are an important source of calories which many people need to maintain a healthy weight as they age.  Try to avoid saturated fats such as butter and instead choose healthier, natural fats such avocado, nuts and eggs.

Everyone should eat three meals a day

Whatever your age, it’s important to eat regularly to maintain energy levels and keep yourself healthy but this doesn’t mean you have to religiously stick to a routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

As you age and your appetite decreases it may become more of a challenge to eat larger meals.  If the thought of three meals a day are just too much, then try eating smaller meals or healthy snacks throughout the day when you feel like it.

Malnutrition is a normal part of the ageing process

Whilst malnutrition is more common in the elderly, it can affect anyone at any age.  If you spot symptoms of malnutrition in a family member or friend, it shouldn’t be dismissed as being normal aspect of getting older. 

If you would like more advice on nutrition you can find out more information from our Stay Nourished campaign or please get in touch with our friendly team here