Your diet and eating habits play a large role in the aging process, especially if you also want to meet some of your personal weight loss goals. For example, some eating habits that can help you lose belly fat and slow aging are getting enough vegetables, eating more whole foods, and limiting your consumption of added sugar.
Another thing to consider is that what you drink plays a role as well! To learn more, we talked with a couple of expert dietitians to get their input on drinking habits that can help you meet your weight loss goals while also helping you age in the healthiest way possible.
Continue reading to learn more, and for more healthy eating tips check out 7 Eating Habits That Help You Feel Younger After 50.
While many people may assume that it’s fine to drink soda on a regular basis as long as it’s diet, studies have shown that this is not necessarily the case.
“A study published in 2016 found that low-calorie sweetener use was associated with heavier weight, larger waist, and greater incidence of abdominal obesity. Another study of older adults in San Antonio, from both Mexican-American and European-American backgrounds, reported that those who drank diet sodas gained three times more in waist circumference than those who didn’t,” says Deborah Rankin, RD.
You can get some helpful nutrients from natural juices without added sugar, but many juices on the market today are full of sugars.
“Some cups of juice can have 20 grams of sugar or more, which is more than in a cup of cola. Whole fruits contain more fiber, which help level out the release of sugar into your bloodstream so that blood insulin levels don’t spike as high and promote fat accumulation,” says Rankin.
While it may not seem like a lot in the moment, binge drinking can impact your health in a number of ways.
“Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks in two hours for women, and five or more drinks in two hours for men, and although it may seem like harmless fun, binge drinking can lead to a number of health problems, including weight gain,” says Noah Quezada, RDN. “For example, alcohol contains calories. A standard drink (beer, wine, or liquor) contains about 150 calories. So, if you consume four drinks in two hours, you’re consuming about 600 extra calories.”
It’s easy for calories to add up in certain drinks, which is why dietitians suggest limiting your consumption of sugary beverages.
“Calories coming from your drinks are less likely to make you feel full. In most cases, those calories come from sugars. This makes it easier to consume more calories than your body needs, promoting weight gain. For example, one regular soft drink has around 60 grams of sugar, which is the same as having four slices of white bread. When you think about it, what will make you feel fuller? The can of soda or the four slices of bread?” says Brenda Peralta, RD.
Getting enough protein on a regular basis is important at any age, which is why you may want to consider including a protein shake in your daily diet.
“Protein has a vital role in your body. It supports your muscle mass, increases your fullness levels, and it slightly increases your metabolism. Having a protein shake before going out can help you control your hunger and avoid eating more than you need. This leads to better weight management,” says Peralta.