Healthy Insights from AARP

Obesity is both a chronic disease on its own and a risk factor for other diseases — the heavier we are, the sicker we often become. Duh! Tell me something I don’t already know.

For the first 25 or so years of my life I was always trying to gain weight. Then something happened and the the last 60 years I have been trying to lose weight. I know I am not alone in my efforts.

The Mayo Clinic boils it down to a simple formula, if we burn more calories than we consume, we will lose weight. Did I say ‘simple’? Nothing simple about it. I’m not a big dessert eater and I don’t eat a lot of junk food. I count calories and typically my daily intake is well under 2,000 and often under 1,500. I am reasonably active make an effort to select low-fat and low-carb foods. But the reality is that I’ve been trying to lose 30+ pounds for what seems like half of my life.

A recent article on the AARP website, Managing Your Weight After 50, offers some suggestions that gives me hope. Perhaps they may do the same for you.

  • Manufactured foods now feature “Added Sugars” on the nutrition label. Reduce or eliminate added sugars from your diet. Significant sources of added sugars are pasta sauces, flavored yogurts, breads, and salad dressings. Instead eat more beans and lentils.
  • Not all body fat is equal. Abdominal fat is composed of both subcutaneous fat (located underneath your skin) and visceral fat (located inside your belly around internal organs, such as your liver). Excess abdominal fat is a risk factor for high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In simple terms, excess abdominal fat is a life-threatening problem.
  • Try some decaf green or black tea in the evening. Umami, the savory flavor, can help increase feelings of satiety and decrease food cravings. L-theanine in tea — this is also linked to better sleep, which will keep you out of the kitchen at night — can deliver that umami kick.
  • Steps to take to make your gut healthier. Our intestinal tract contains trillions of bacteria, known collectively as the microbiome, the composition of which can affect many different aspects of our health. The best way to maintain a healthy microbiome is to maintain a healthy body weight; avoid packaged, highly processed and refined foods; and eat a diverse mixture of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.
  • Focus on losing fat, not muscle. Any diet needs to provide enough protein to help offset muscle loss. Many researchers recommend that older adults eat 25 to 30 grams of protein at every meal — especially breakfast — as well as protein-rich snacks. The director of the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Health Research at McMaster University offers his ideal breakfast as a cup of Greek yogurt, one-third cup of mixed nuts and a glass of milk, which adds up to a little more than 35 grams of protein.

You will find some great links including one to the AARP website at

Published by John Cleek, Ph.D.

REALTOR®, Senior Real Estate Specialist, author, seminar leader, marketing consultant, educator, entrepreneur

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