Diet for over 50

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Foods That You Should Never Touch If You’re Over 50

We get it — adjusting your eating habits as you get older can be really hard. But when it comes to losing weight and keeping your body as healthy as possible, there’s really no other choice than to starting cutting foods out of your daily diet. Not entirely sure which foods you should start avoiding or limiting in order to keep yourself fit and healthy? That’s where we come in. Some of these foods may even surprise you! (Bet you never knew you’d have to avoid the food on Page 10.)

Pickles

Say goodbye to this salty snack. | merc67/iStock/Getty Images

This may come as a surprise — how can a vegetable like delicious dills be bad for you? As Today’s Joy Bauer explains, one pickle is loaded with over 1,000 milligrams of sodium. With high blood pressure being a health concern as we get older, cutting down on foods that can raise your blood pressure is key. (This isn’t the only salt-filled food on our list, either.)

Next: Too much of this food can cause problems if you’re in your 50s.

Potatoes

Only eat these occassionaly. | YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

This is one food you surely need to cut down on, especially if it’s cut into fries or sprinkled with bacon bits. (More on bacon a little later.) “Potatoes really are starchy,” TIME explains, “and they land high on the glycemic index—right up there with rice cakes and pretzels.” And when you add all the extras to it, you get a dish that expands your waistline and raises your insulin levels. If you absolutely must have a potato — they do contain vitamins — eat them as bare as possible.

Next: Here’s the worst way to start your day.

Breakfast pastries

The consequences may not be worth it. | iStock.com

We will not tell you to cut out sweets all together. (Who would ever listen to advice like that anyways?) But you should definitely limit your sugar intake if you want to keep your weight down — and definitely avoid pastries at breakfast. Bauer tells Today that the late morning sugar crash caused by breakfast pastries affects your blood sugar levels and causes you to crave unhealthier foods throughout the rest of your day.

Next: Too much of this food puts you at risk for diseases.

Butter

Try olive oil instead. | iStock.com/HandmadePictures

Let’s be honest — butter isn’t good for you in large quantities no matter what age you are. But it’s more imperative to cut back on it as you age. In fact, cutting back on saturated fats in general — like whole milk and cheese — can greatly lower your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. While a little butter won’t kill you, swapping it out for healthier fats like olive oil or nuts is a much better option.

Next: Your body’s reaction to this beverage may change in your 50s.

Too much wine

Remember, everything in moderation. | Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images

But red wine is good for you, right? Well, that only counts if you drink it in moderation as prescribed by the Mediterranean diet. As Bauer tells Today, having multiple glasses in one sitting can undo its positive properties because it inundates your organs. Plus, the sugar in wine can interrupt sleep patterns as you get older, leaving you tossing and turning at all hours because you had just one more glass.

Next: If this is in your fridge, you should get rid of it. Stat.

Deli meats

Processed meats are high in salt and fat. | MSPhotographic/iStock/Getty Images

Time to rethink that weekend sandwich run. Or, at least what you are putting into the sandwich. Your favorite go-to deli meats are pumped with sodium and fat, WebMD explains, plus chemical preservative that raise your risk for certain cancers. Go for a lean meat option in your sandwiches — like skinless chicken — and pack on the veggies.

Next: But, while we’re on the subject of veggies…

Steam bag frozen vegetables

Is there more than just veggies in that bag? | iStock.com/BravissimoS

This may be your go-to, quick-and-easy fix for getting vegetables into your diet. But this option isn’t as healthy as you think. As Livestrong tells us, pre-packaged veggie options contain added ingredients like creams, sauces, and salt, which take away some of the health benefits. Being mindful of what’s in your frozen vegetables can go a long way to keeping you fit, and healthier.

Next: A guilty pleasure food that has connections to obesity.

Deep dish pizza

Thin crust is best. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Pizza is one of those unhealthy foods that we haven’t been able to get enough of since we were kids. Even though we know all the dough, cheese, and salty toppings are terrible for us. And as we get older, of course, those components ruin our waistlines and can contribute to long-term fight with obesity. To keep your body in check without giving up a slice of pie, steer of deep dish options. (All that bread is doing you no favors.) Opt for thin crust, less cheese, and load up on veggie toppings.

Next: A food you should completely avoid — as delicious as it is.

Bacon

Bacon is delicious, but your body will pay the consequences. | HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

This is kind of a no-brainer. You shouldn’t be eating bacon on a regular basis no matter what age you are. But of course, all that bad fats and salt packed into those strips are even worse once you reach a certain age because it greatly raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. While a nibble on a rare occasion probably won’t kill you, it’s better to just stay away from bacon all together.

Next: This next one may surprise you.

Cherries

Some fruits have high sugar content and cherries are one of them. | Timmary/iStock/Getty Images

That’s right — those delectable little fruits should be limited in your diet as you get into your 50s and beyond. Despite their anti-inflammatory properties and loads of antioxidants, cherries are also packed with sugar. (And if your blood sugar is an issue, these are a big no-no.) Plus, eating too many cherries can cause upset stomach, nausea, and bloating. You can enjoy a few cherries here and there, but it’s best not to go overboard.

Next: Let’s get back to this topic real quick…

Chicken skin

Pull off the skin and save yourself some calories. | JoeGough/iStock/Getty Images

Remember when we suggested swapping out your deli meats for skinless chicken? Really, you should be trying your best to always eat your chicken without the skin. While it makes the meat juicier, the skin is also loaded with a ton of fat, which can throw your cholesterol out of whack and add to your midsection.

Next: When it comes to everyone’s favorite dinner side…

Dinner rolls

These can be hard to resist. | iStock.com

It may seem like a meal isn’t complete without a side of bread. But having those rolls on the side are only going to add rolls to your waistline, especially as you get older. Plus, like with breakfast pastries, the carbohydrates in dinner rolls will make your blood pressure spike and then abruptly crash — leaving you hungry again, even after a large meal. (Especially if the rolls are made from white bread.)

Next: A bit of a no-brainer, but it must be mentioned.

Soda

Opt for sparkling water instead. | naikon/iStock/Getty Images

Breaking a soda habit can be tough. But it’s crucial to your health the older you get, especially if you’re a diabetic. “This sugar rush,” Bauer says,” sends your blood sugar into a tailspin, and then you get an insulin surge and that promotes inflammation.” Unlike some foods on this list that can at least be eaten on a rare occasion, soda should be avoided at all costs.

Next: Another surprising fruit to avoid.

Grapes

Eat this fruit in moderation. | karandaev/Getty Images

Here we have another fruit that you may think is too healthy to ever be bad for you. So what makes grapes a food to eat less of once you’re in your 50s? Like with cherries, the carbohydrate and sugar content is high and can make weight loss difficult. Take a cue from Livestrong and limit this fruit.

Next: A food to avoid like the plague.

Potato chips

This is a no brainer. | dr3amer/Getty Images

Once a potato becomes a potato chip, any and all nutritional value basically vanishes. You’re left with an empty, processed starch covered in blood pressure raising salt, which you’re no doubt going to over eat and gain weight from. Even if you’re at a social event and don’t snack very often, you’re better off skipping this snack and heading right for the veggie platter.

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Choosing the Right Foods After Age 50

Knowing what foods are right for you can be challenging, especially as your nutritional needs change with aging. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the foods that you should and shouldn’t be eating after 50!

Foods You Should Avoid After Age 50

For proper nutrition, avoid eating these foods (and drinks!) after age 50.

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Deli Meats

While a deli sandwich is a classic snack or lunchtime meal, daily sando dining carries risks. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), consuming 50 grams of processed meat a day increased risk of developing colorectal cancer by 18 percent. If you do eat deli meat, check the ingredients and food label to ensure it contains no nitrites, nitrates, or additives.

Soft Drinks

Whether they are normal or diet sodas, soft drinks are very unhealthy. Studies have linked these beverages to obesity, diabetes, and even higher risk of heart disease. When you pass the age of 50, you should already be watching your blood pressure to keep it at healthy levels, not encouraging it to spike by guzzling a Diet Coke at lunch every day!

High-Sodium Foods

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As you probably already know, a diet that is high in sodium is harmful to your blood pressure levels, and can therefore increase your risk of kidney and heart disease and stroke.

High-Sugar Foods

Beyond avoiding highly processed sweet treats, such as candy bars, you should take care to stay away from all sugars as you age. Research has shown that there may be a relationship between diets with a minimal consumption of sugar and a longer lifespan. In addition, lots of sugar in your food can cause your skin to look older than it is, and contribute to other symptoms of aging.

Bag-Steamed Veggies

I know the appeal — it’s been a long day at work, and it’s oh-so-easy (and seemingly health-conscious) to microwave a bag of veggies to eat alongside your rotisserie chicken. However, those steam-in-the-bag green beans may be hurting your health by drawing some substances from the plastic bag into your food: bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates. These substances mimic the hormones in your body in a negative way to influence your health.

Arthritis is one of the more common effects of aging. Unfortunately for the bacon-lovers out there, this flavorful item aggravates joint pain and arthritis because its omega-6 fatty acids cause inflammation (while omega-3 fatty acids in items such as salmon can combat it).

Alcohol (in Excess)

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While regularly drinking a glass of wine with dinner is recommended for several health benefits, beyond-moderate alcohol consumption (greater than seven drinks per week) on a consistent basis is harmful to your heart and liver, which are two organs you definitely need to keep healthy as you age.

Healthy Foods for Your Diet After Age 50

As you ease off the processed foods listed above, replace them with these healthy options.

Almonds

Almonds are full of monounsaturated fatty acids and plant fibers that help control and lower cholesterol levels and maintain blood vessel help. They’re also good for brain development, bones, the immune system, and reducing inflammation.

Apples

Apples are high in fiber, good for respiratory issues, and anti-inflammatory. They’re a great source of pectin, which lowers cholesterol. (And they keep the doctor away!) If you don’t like eating apples alone, try tossing them in a salad or dipping them in low-sugar peanut butter.

Avocados

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Avocados are referred to as a superfood for a good reason. These fruits (yes, fruits!) contain twice the amount of potassium as a banana, and are high in healthy fats and fiber. Their healthy fatty acids help slow digestion, which prevents blood sugar from spiking after eating — keeping your energy levels maintained throughout the day. Chop avocado up in a salad, smear it on a sandwich or burger, or add some salt and pepper and eat it by the forkful.

Black Beans & Other Legumes

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Black beans are a high-fiber choice that helps regulate the digestive tract, which in turn helps regulate blood sugar. They’re great for your heart, are full of flavonoids and antioxidants, which help fight cancer, and have vitamin B6 and folate, which help the nervous system!

The glycemic index of black beans and other legumes is low, which means that the body processes and releases glucose very slowly into the bloodstream. Type 2 diabetes is a very real problem for all populations, but older adults tend to be less active than younger people; and foods with a low glycemic index help to prevent the body from becoming insulin-resistant, which is the major contributor to type 2 diabetes.

Blueberries

Blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants, which help your body eliminate free radicals. The color of blueberries is due to high amounts of anthocyanin, which is thought to protect against cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline. Blueberries also help prevent cancer and bolster your immune system!

Broccoli

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Can’t go wrong with roasted broccoli ?

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Broccoli is loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene. It is low in calories and high in nutrients, so you can eat large portions of broccoli to feel fuller while not overindulging! Broccoli is also full of vitamin K, which helps blood clot properly.

Cranberries

Cranberries are one of the best natural urinary tract infection preventers out there. They’re a natural diuretic and help remove bacteria from the urinary tract. Research also shows that they can help reduce plaque buildup on teeth! Cranberry juice is typically high in sugar, though, so double-check the nutritional information before you drink.

Carrots

The bright orange color of carrots is due to beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which, among many other benefits, supports vision and skin health.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate helps with blood flow, managing cholesterol, and can protect you from heart disease! In moderation, it can also help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the chances of diabetes.

Additionally, dark chocolate has a high percentage of cacao to provide natural caffeine and theobromine, a component found in cacao plants and tea leaves that acts as a natural antidepressant.

Eggs

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Low in calories but packed with protein, this classic breakfast staple can be fixed a number of delicious ways so you’ll never get bored. The protein in eggs helps sustain your energy levels, and the vitamin B assists in breaking down what you digest for sustainable fuel.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is high in vitamin E, which helps your skin and hair look and feel great, and helps your skin heal faster when it’s injured. It has a soothing effect on ulcers and gastritis, and helps promote pancreatic health. It’s also a great antioxidant and promoter of heart health.

Fish

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Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and cod are naturally high in vitamin D, which is necessary for the body to utilize calcium. Vitamin D is also thought to be protective against some cancers, heart disease, and high blood pressure, all of which are issues for older adults.

These types of fish also have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which are part of the group of polyunsaturated fats that afford many health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to reduce inflammation, especially in the arteries, protecting against atherosclerosis (or “hardening of the arteries).”

Researchers have begun to find that fish oil supplements may not offer the same benefits as eating the whole fish, so focus on whole foods instead of relying on omega-3 capsules.

Garlic

Garlic is super for cholesterol levels, particularly lowering bad cholesterol. It’s known to help lower blood pressure (something we could all use after 50!) and reduce the odds of digestive tract cancers.

Green Tea

Whether drank hot or cold, this delicious tea contains nutrients and antioxidants to fight inflammation and prevent cell damage. It also has caffeine, and will provide an energy surge with less of a comedown than drinking a soda or pounding an espresso shot. Mix it with lemonade in the summer, or have a hot cup of it with honey in the chillier months.

Hot Chile Peppers

Consuming one of these 30 minutes before a meal leaves people feeling more full, cutting down on unnecessary intake.

Mushrooms

These guys served as an entrée leave you feeling just as satisfied as if you had beef, but are packed with important nutrients such as niacin, selenium, vitamin D, riboflavin, and potassium.

Oatmeal

Start your day with this power-packed slow-release gold mine and you will burn more fat (slow release carbohydrates don’t spike your blood sugar).

Oranges

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Did you know that one orange can provide over 100 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C? Juicy, tart, and sweet, these citrus fruits also have antioxidant compounds that provide protection from oxidative stress, which can cause major fatigue.

Oysters

Besides being a natural aphrodisiac, oysters are a great source of energy. They are loaded with iron, which helps bring oxygen to cells for an extra boost. Oysters also contain high levels of vitamin B12 and zinc, which are great for keeping your immune system in tiptop condition.

Plain Yogurt

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When bacteria ferment lactose — the sugar found in cow’s milk — yogurt is formed. The lactobacillus bacteria that is used to make yogurt is a probiotic, which is a beneficial bacteria that can live in our digestive tract. Probiotics offer many health benefits, including:

    • Maintaining the balance of good bacteria and producing substances that can inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria
    • Signaling the immune system to reduce inflammation, which is thought to be responsible for many chronic diseases
  • Producing vitamin K, which is necessary for proper blood clotting, bone metabolism, and blood vessel health

This simple snack is easy to grab for a quick pick-me-up, or can be added to your cereal or smoothies for a tasty upgrade. Packed with protein, vitamin B6 and B12, and broken-down simple sugars, yogurt provides ready-to-use energy with its lactose contents, and the protein in yogurt slows down the absorption of that lactose to make the energy last.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a complete protein (and an herb!), with all nine essential amino acids. It is filling and satisfying like meats, but spares you the fats and cholesterols. Quinoa is also high in vitamin B, which helps neurological function!

Red Beets

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Red beets are rich in a plethora of vitamins and nutrients that make them an amazing natural anti-inflammatory, and are an excellent source of folate, vitamins C and B6, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and riboflavin. It’s a pretty complete nutrient package!

Spinach & Other Leafy Greens

Spinach is full of iron, calcium, antioxidants, and folate. There is a long list health benefits for spinach, but our favorite is that it’s good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Often older adults do not get the calcium they need because of lactose intolerance or the fear of cholesterol, both of which are in dairy products. The good news is that green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, are an excellent source of calcium. One caveat is that the body also needs vitamin D to absorb the calcium, so you’ll need a good source of vitamin D, either from supplements, fatty fish, or fortified dairy products.

Wheat Bran Cereal

Wheat bran cereal doesn’t have to be boring. Pieces of fruit and a drizzle of honey are enough to zest up any bowl of this energy-packed breakfast. High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, the nutrients in bran cereal will translate into a steady energy maintainer throughout your day.

How has your diet changed since you’ve turned 50? Share your story with us!

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What is the Cruise Control Diet?

By Lydia Noyes HighYa Staff Updated on: Jun 19, 2019

The Cruise Control Diet is an eating plan designed to help you lose weight for good, no matter how many times you’ve tried before. According to the company website, this diet is a “whole-foods approach to weight loss and general health.” If you follow its guidelines, the plan promises you will shed unwanted weight without depriving yourself or feeling hungry.

This eating strategy was designed by James Ward, a self-proclaimed yo-yo dieter who struggled to maintain a healthy weight for much of his adult life. Once he finally found success, Ward designed the Cruise Control Diet as a sustainable eating plan that could be followed for the long term because it didn’t deprive him of his favorite foods. The plan’s official website launched in 2011, and has been available as a digital download and physical book since.

But can it deliver, and is it worth the cost? We’ll share what we found about the Cruise Control Diet so that you can make a better decision.

How Does the Cruise Control Diet Work?

Per the company website, anyone who needs to lose weight and has struggled with traditional programs can benefit from the Cruise Control Diet. The plan is also meant for anyone who wants a long-term way to improve their health, though it mandates some meat consumption, which makes it a poor option for vegans and vegetarians.

From what we learned on the company website, the Cruise Control Diet follows four general rules for weight loss and overall health.

  1. Eat natural, whole foods designed to help you burn fat
  2. Avoid processed foods that cause your body to store fat
  3. Prevent yourself from feeling restricted by occasionally indulging in guilty pleasure foods
  4. Let your body’s natural hunger instinct guide when and how much you eat, not calories, points, or other forms of portion control.

While these first three rules are standard for most healthy eating approaches, the Cruise Control Diet separates itself from the crowd with rule four.

According to its logic, the reasons that most people struggle to maintain their weight loss is that they fatigue from following the rules and restrictions in plans that require you to count your calories or otherwise meticulously monitor your progress. Eventually, it claims, you’ll slack and return to previous habits, regaining weight in the process.

By forgoing these forms of measurement and instead relying on your body’s natural instincts, the Cruise Control Diet claims to go beyond forced willpower so that you can maintain your progress and keep the weight off.

But beyond weight loss, the plan also claims it can boost your energy levels and reset your metabolism. It also promises to improve your general health markers like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and glucose.

Saying that, the plan doesn’t promise that you will experience instant results. According to the website, the speed of your weight loss depends on how much weight you have to lose and your willingness to commit to other health improvement measures like regular exercise. Even so, the Cruise Control Diet promises that you will experience speedy progress if you follow its perimeters.

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How Do You Follow the Cruise Control Diet?

If you’re interested in starting the Cruise Control Diet, you will need to purchase the plan and look through the complementary digital download or physical book that will be shipped to you a few days later.

We messaged the company but weren’t able to gain access to a copy of this digital download at the time of publication, which means our comments about the program are limited to what we found within the diet’s promotional material. If that changes in the future, we will update this article accordingly.

With that disclaimer out of the way, here’s what we found. The plan is split into three distinct phases:

  1. Metabolic Reset Phase: this two-week phase focuses on regulating your blood sugar.
  2. Cruise Control Phase: as the main part of the program, this phase focusing on building meals based on whole foods with extra treats once or twice a week.
  3. Rapid Fat Burning Phase: this final phase builds on the foundation you’ve established to boost your ability to burn fat fast.

This eating plan also included a broad list of forbidden and favored foods. In a nutshell, you are meant to fill up on raw or minimally processed fruits and vegetables as well as lean meats, whole grains such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, and rye, and healthy seeds and nuts.

Foods to avoid are sugary drinks (including fruit juice), chips and crackers, fried foods, highly processed meat like salami, pre-made frozen foods, and anything with artificial flavors and colors.

The plan includes example shopping lists, recipes, and meal plans to guide your progress in the grocery store.

What Does the Cruise Control Diet Cost?

At the time of writing, the Cruise Control Diet is only available on the company website. You’ll pay $39.99 for the full plan, as well as $9.99 for shipping and handling (and an additional $14.99 for orders outside the United States).

Once you place an order, you are given immediate access to the full plan through a digital download that includes the following.

  • The Cruise Control Diet Core Program: This simple plan walks you through the three phases of the diet plan to help you make smarter food choices.
  • The Cook Book: You’ll receive more than 70 plan-approved recipes to help you learn a new way to approach food for long-lasting success.
  • The Jumpstart Guide: This brief guide will walk you through the basics of meal planning and grocery shopping for your first few weeks. It’s meant to be used as a “cheat sheet” to acclimate you to the core ideas and concepts of the plan.
  • The Weekly Recipe Guide: You’ll receive 60 days’ worth of plan-approved meals that can act as your playbook for planning out your weeks. While you aren’t restricted to these meals, the guide is designed to give you guidelines for starting out.

Each purchase qualifies for the Cruise Control Diet’s 60-day, 100-percent money back guarantee (minus shipping and handling) if you decide you aren’t satisfied for any reason.

You can take up concerns with the company by contacting them at [email protected] or by phone at (617) 674-2008.

What Do Customer Reviews of the Cruise Control Diet Say?

In order to see what people are saying about the Cruise Control Diet, we chose to look at reviews on the brand’s website, Facebook page, and other review sites such as Consumer Compare.

From these reviews, we found that a number of Cruise Control dieters have lost weight following the plan.

We read numerous comments from people who reported that they were down twenty or more pounds since starting and that they don’t feel like they are depriving themselves when following the plan. Others commented that they lost their sugar cravings and felt like they could appreciate the taste of healthy food better.

We also read less positive reviews. Some people thought that the information offered in the plan was too simplistic and readily available online for free. Others took offense to the Diet’s promotional strategy and thought that the intro videos on the official website had an overtly “salesy” feel to them.

Notably, we didn’t notice many comments from people who claimed to follow the diet as written but didn’t lose weight. This seems to show that the people who take the plan seriously enough to give it a try tend to lose weight while following it.

Our View: Should You Try the Cruise Control Diet?

Pulling this information together, do we think there’s enough reason to consider the Cruise Control Plan? We didn’t get a chance to look through what paid customers receive, and that limits our ability to comment on its overall value.

But even so, we think that the general premise of this eating strategy makes sense. Sustainable weight loss won’t come from a short-term diet, so we appreciate that this diet strives to change your outlook towards food for the long term. Likewise, it’s a good idea from a health perspective to eat more whole foods and limit your intake of processed products.

From what we found, there’s nothing all that radical about the Cruise Control Diet that makes it stand out from other plans. Eating strategies like the Ornish Diet, Nutritarian Diet, and TLC Diet also advocate for more vegetables and less sugar, and it’s possible to learn the specifics for most of them for less than the $50 purchase fee for Cruise Control.

That’s why we can say that the program is one good option out of many and that you’re likely to get out of it what you put in. If you’re willing to take its instructions seriously and make the recommended changes to your relationship with food, there’s a solid chance you’ll end up healthier and lighter for your effort.

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Let’s start with what I like about the Whole30. First, the name is no joke: The Whole30 really is an eating plan that emphasizes real food — not processed meals and snacks that regularly sneak into our diets. It also has a built-in support system on social media that encourages accountability.

For those just tuning in, this buzzy diet skips sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy for 30 days. It permits meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruit, and “natural fats” like vegetable oils, coconut oil, and tree nuts.

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That said, this plan is not only restrictive, but it’s backed by zero scientific research to support its long-term efficacy and safety! Instead, it’s based on pure conjecture, anecdotal “evidence,” and generally inflammatory theories asking its followers to rely on deprivation instead of forming smart habits that stick.

U.S. News and World Report came to a similar conclusion during their annual Best Diets ranking. Panelists slammed Whole30 as having: “No independent research. Nonsensical claims. Extreme. Restrictive.” And even called it “the worst of the worst for healthy eating.”

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Remember: Anything that’s extreme will be temporary by design will yield just as temporary results, which is no way to begin a healthier lifestyle. Finding what works for you within your everyday life is a key indicator of success. I’d encourage anyone considering this extreme diet to look to the top of the U.S. News and World Report list, like the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet.

Opt for a plan that encourages a better, more fulfilled lifestyle — not one that promotes impossible standards and, ultimately, shame. Think about more rather than less: More veggies, fruit, plant-based protein, 100% whole grains, and seafood.

I know being less-than-enthused by this trendy eating plan makes me unpopular, but hear me out! This is specifically why the Whole30 gives me pause — plus, better ideas to consider in their place.

1. Sodium and saturated fat are basically unlimited.

One horrifically grating thing about the Whole30 books: The authors claim that they’re “not telling you what to eat” while literally telling you what you can and cannot eat. For example, “processed foods” are off limits, but lo and behold you can eat cured pork, otherwise known as BACON and SAUSAGE!

Many Whole30 recipes use bacon and coconut-based ingredients, making the plan high in both saturated fat and sodium, top nutrients of concern identified by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These nutrients (along with added sugar) have been linked to harmful health effects, including weight gain and increased risk of chronic disease.

TRY THIS INSTEAD: Eat more lean protein instead of cured meats. Go for these picks that will fill you up without a nutritional downside:

Salmon Eggs Tuna Legumes

2. Good-for-you legumes are banished.

The Whole30 preaches that legumes contain “anti-nutrients,” which is simply not true. It’s well-established in nutrition science that legumes like beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts are hands-down the most nutritious foods you can possibly eat!

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They’re loaded with prebiotic fiber, which is linked to boosting immunity. The antioxidants and minerals in legumes also improve blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Legumes are also nature’s gift for weight loss. They’re low in calories from fat, but higher in fiber, reducing the temptation to snack.

TRY THIS INSTEAD: If legumes make you feel bloated, you’re either not used to eating them or you’re not drinking enough water! If you’re not a regular chickpea-chomper, gradually introduce these foods into your diet, and sip more H2O.

3. Nutrient-packed dairy products are also no-gos.

Diets that include dairy products (about two cups per day) are linked to a lower risk of chronic disease and smaller waist circumference. Diets that emphasize dairy alternatives? Not so much. Despite the health halo worn by almond and coconut milk, nut- and seed-based substitutes don’t even come close to their counterparts. They’re lower in potassium and protein, higher in sodium, and don’t provide the vitamins A and D that you’d get from fortified milk or unsweetened soy versions.

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For weight loss, it’s senseless that the Whole30 includes clarified butter (a high-fat, protein-less version) and nixes better-for-you low-fat Greek yogurt. Their rationale: Eliminating milk solids can help you detect an allergy, but an actual allergy would cause mouth and throat swelling as well as hives and anaphylaxis. It’s supremely unlikely to suddenly appear in adulthood, so consult a physician ASAP if you’re truly concerned. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is the result of an enzyme deficiency that causes more nuanced discomfort, like gas and bloating.

TRY THIS INSTEAD: Don’t cut healthy protein sources like unsweetened milk, yogurt, and part-skim cheeses. Just skip dairy products with added sugar, like milk-based bottled smoothies or sweetened yogurts that contain sneaky added calories. If you suspect lactose might be the problem, a trial elimination diet of about two weeks could help.

4. This whole “sex with your pants on” philosophy is totally backwards.

The Whole30 refers to eating “unapproved” items made from “approved” items (e.g., grain-free, sugar-free pancakes) as “sex with your pants on.” They warn against recreating favorite foods with paleo ingredients because you’ll be tempted to eat the real thing.

While the analogy is pretty clever, coming up with delicious alternatives to satisfy a specific food craving (e.g., making pizza on a 100% whole-grain English muffin) is a smart way to strategize long-term weight loss.

TRY THIS INSTEAD: When you’re hankering for an indulgence, start by asking yourself if something else is making you want to nosh (stress, sadness, boredom, etc.). If the answer is yes, you’ve already resolved a craving by recognizing it’s not about food at all. In that case, go for a walk, take a break, or call a friend.

If not, determine if you’re wanting a specific flavor: guac versus a whole burrito, cheese versus pizza, chocolate versus brownie, etc. If your hankering is more about a flavor and less about a whole “throw-in-the-towel” meal, SWYPO is working for you, not against you! And when you just need a cupcake (I feel you!): Indulge, enjoy, and move on.

5. We can all tolerate diet torture — but only temporarily.

We could all do the Whole30 for thirty days; it’s not impossible. I only caution that restrictive diets “work” temporarily because they eventually end and anything that’s temporary by design often yields temporary results.

TRY THIS INSTEAD: Set daily goals specific to making you feel happier and healthier: planning a nutritious dinner for your family, trying an in-season veggie from the farmer’s market, or packing your lunch for work. These are small but powerful changes without resorting to deprivation. Once you’ve mastered the daily goal, try setting a few (no more than three!) to up your weight-loss game.

6. Eating out on the plan becomes impossible.

For many of us, it’s simply unrealistic to travel with a personal jar of coconut oil or dine out with friends and order a bunless, cheeseless, baconless burger.

If you really want to commit to the Whole30 lifestyle, no judgment here! My concern is that if this plan seems impractical for you, it’s all too easy to buy into the idea that healthier eating is synonymous with restriction. What follows that mindset? The”Screw-it Diet,” in which you make significantly unhealthier choices because “Screw it! Diets are hopeless, so I’ll order the bacon cheeseburger — make it a double!”

TRY THIS INSTEAD: Prep ahead in ways that are reasonable for you: Bring snacks when traveling, read up on good-for-you meals at favorite restaurants (when in doubt: extra veggies, skip the fried stuff), and always plan what you’ll eat when you do indulge.

No single cheeseburger, meal, or trip will make or break your health — nor will it affect the number on the scale. It’s the habits we hang onto over time that help us to make better food choices, lose weight, and live healthier lives.

Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Good Housekeeping Institute Director, Nutrition Lab A registered dietitian with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, Jaclyn “Jackie” London handles all of Good Housekeeping’s nutrition-related content, testing, and evaluation.

The #1 Worst Carb to Eat if You’re Trying to Lose Weight

If you choose the right ones, carbohydrates can help you banish belly fat, feel satiated, and score energy. After all, carbs are the body’s primary source of fuel. But when it comes to weight loss, not all carbs are created equal. The worst carbs to eat (think processed and refined) are proven to slow your metabolism down, plummet your energy levels in the long run, and digress you from scoring those hard-earned weight-loss wins.

In this exclusive video, David Zinczenko, creator of Eat This, Not That!, shares the bad-for-you carbs you must avoid if you’re looking to get lean and slash your risk of metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

What is the worst type of carb to eat?

When you fill your diet with simple and processed carbs such as white breads, white rice, sweeteners, and commercial pastas the body metabolizes them quickly and sends your blood sugar levels soaring, resulting in an energy crash. That’s because highly-processed carbs are all are void of satiating amounts of fiber. And that’s not all: An eye-opening study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increasing your intake of refined carbs, and the lack of fiber that these stripped grains are associated with, can increase one’s risk of type 2 diabetes. That’s exactly why refined carbs are the worst kind of carb to eat — and they’re the type of starch that gives carbs a bad rap!

So should you give up carbs altogether?

Of course not—just give up the worst carb to eat for weight loss, as your body requires complex carbs for energy! Whether we consume fruits and legumes or Italian bread and pastries, your body uses up the food’s glucose to carry out essential life functions and help you power through your workout. When we deplete our diet of carbs, we are often overcome by lethargy and get bombarded with cravings.

Instead of depriving your body of its main source of energy, rid your kitchen of nutrient-void empty carbs and choose good-for-you carbs that are full of immunity-boosting antioxidants, minerals, and body-loving nutrients such as slimming protein and fiber.

“Fiber slows digestion, which wards off blood sugar spikes and hunger and helps maintain blood sugar control—all important keys to weight loss and management,” explains Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition, and New York City-based dietitian and fitness expert.

Eat This! Instead

Complementing your meals with complex carbs—including whole-grains such as quinoa, oats, bulgur, and kamut as well as legumes and starchy vegetables—will provide you with lasting energy because these foods are burned more slowly by the body.

How’s that? Besides for nourishing your body with essential phytochemicals and plant-based protein, whole-grains contain the entire grain kernel—which includes the bran, germ, and endosperm.

On the contrary, refined grains are stripped of their fiber- and nutrient-dense bran and germ in order to lend the grains a longer shelf life and an arguably more palatable texture. And that’s exactly why those ubiquitous loaves of white bread you spot in the supermarket are enriched! Manufacturers add the mood-boosting B vitamins and anemia-fighting iron that have been stripped in the milling process back into the grain product—but leave the belly-filling fiber out.

And while nutritious foods such as fruits and dairy products contain quick-burning simple sugars, these natural carbs aren’t refined and come packed with a slew of healthful nutrients you shouldn’t ignore. If you want a lean, toned tummy before swimsuit season arrives, skip the worst carb balance your diet and fill your plate with these complex carbs that will uncover your abs.

Get the New Book!

Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!

If You’re Over 50, Avoid These 10 Foods and Beverages

With advanced years comes a heightened sense of wisdom, knowledge, and perspective, but these desirable traits are sadly accompanied by some undesirable caveats. As the years pile up like boxes in the garage, heart attacks, dementia, osteoporosis, diabetes, and numerous other ailments creep into people’s lives. But this inevitable progression toward the next phase of life need not be feared; rather, it should be embraced.

A healthy diet centered around fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and a moderate amount of animal products paired with an active lifestyle is enough to increase the chances of longevity, but as people reach the half-century mark, there are some particular foods that should be avoided. These foods contribute to some of the more common age-related diseases. Even simple pleasures that aren’t inherently detrimental to health, like coffee and alcohol, affect the body differently once a person hits 50 years of age.

The ingredients on this list don’t need to be cut out completely, but they should be consumed cautiously and in moderation.

Here are 10 foods and beverages to avoid if you’re over 50.

The 5 Crucial Diet Changes Women Over 50 Must Make

A person’s nutrition after 50 is crucial. It is, arguably, the most important factor in maintaining a healthy body at this age. It cannot withstand much more abuse in the form of fast food, inactivity and too much alcohol. The side effects are imminent.

Good nutrition is essential throughout the entire lifespan, of course, but around and after age 50, changes occur within the body that make the food you consume of particular significance, says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area.

“As you age, you lose muscle mass, about 10 percent each decade after age 45,” she says. “While you’re losing muscle, you’re more likely to gain body fat and require less calories.” This is because muscle burns more calories than body fat, she adds.

It’s also important to prioritize exercise—in particular, resistance training to help counteract that decline in metabolism that happens with aging, Gorin says.

You have to prioritize nutrition to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions that are of greater concern as people get older.

Eat: Fatty fish

“Having at least two 3.5-ounce servings of cooked fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, or herring each week can help keep your heart health strong,” Gorin says. These fish provide heart-helping omega-3 fatty acids. They are essential to a person’s overall health and they are promoted for their protective effects, especially on the brain, heart and eyes.

Eat: Prunes

Bone health is important as you get older. About a third of women and 20 percent of men over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis, Gorin says. “Eating prunes helps to strengthen bone health and keep your bones healthy.” In fact, she adds, eating five to six prunes daily has been shown to help prevent bone loss, per a study in Osteoporosis International.” You can snack on prunes, add them to a salad, or make jam or even brownies with them.”

Eat: Tomato Sauce

Surprisingly, this food helps prevent wrinkles, Gorin says. “Tomatoes are red gems that provide the antioxidant lycopene.” This antioxidant can help protect skin from wrinkles and other damage that happens due to UV light, she adds. Cooked tomatoes are preferred because your body best absorbs the lycopene from them. You can add tomato sauce to pasta or use it in a spaghetti squash recipe.

Limit: Added Sugars

All people should limit intake of added sugar, and this is even more important as you get older, Gorin says. “Added sugar such as table sugar and brown sugar should make up no more than 10 percent of your total calories.” So for a 2,000-calorie daily diet, that comes out to about 12 teaspoons of added sugar. “For the added sugar you are adding to your day, I recommend using one that offers some nutrition. My favorite is pure maple syrup.” It’s a unique sweetener because it boasts 60-plus health-helping polyphenols, as well as the blood-sugar-helping mineral manganese and the B vitamin riboflavin, she adds. “I like to use it to lightly sweeten overnight grains, a muffin recipe, or maple-Dijon salad dressing.”

Don’t eat: Trans Fats

Although you want to avoid these at all times, doing so is even more important as you get older. Before menopause, estrogen provides some protection against heart disease. “But after menopause, women are at a heightened risk for heart disease—and trans fats do not help the case!” Gorin says. “They can raise your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, lower your ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, and increase your risk of heart disease.” Avoid them by reading ingredient labels to ensure that partially hydrogenated oil is not an ingredient.

More from The Active Times:

50 Things Every Woman Over 50 Should Know About Her Health

The Best Things to Do to Look Unbelievably Fit and Fabulous Over 50

Life Changes You Should Make After 50

One of the best things you can do at any age is shake up your routine and try something new. Follow these tips to help you drop the pounds, and keep them off for good, courtesy of some of the world’s best weight-loss experts, dietitians, and personal trainers

1. Talk to your doctor about a weight-loss plan.

First stop after you celebrate the big 5-0—your doctor’s office. She can assess your current state of health, address any health problems that may be affecting your weight (like pre-diabetes or sleep apnea), and help you come up a plan for diet and exercise, says Dr. Petre. She may even be able to recommend a physical therapist or personal trainer for you.

2. Get your hormones checked.

While you’re in the doctor’s office, have her check your hormone levels. As we age, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones decline, which sets the body up for storing fat instead of losing weight, says Jennifer Burns, N.M.D., a naturopathic physician in Phoenix. “Simply getting your thyroid, adrenal glands, and other hormone levels checked—and then taking the appropriate steps to bring them back into balance—can go a long way toward helping people in their 50s lose weight,” says Burns.

Tami Meraglia, M.D., author of The Hormone Secret: Discover Effortless Weight Loss and Renewed Energy in Just 30 Days, agrees, adding that she believes the hormone to focus on is testosterone—especially for women over 50 who are trying to get fit. “There is ample discussion in the medical community about the effects of estrogen loss, but few people are aware of the importance of sufficient testosterone levels, which can help a woman slim down,” says Dr. Meraglia. In fact, research shows that balanced testosterone levels reduce blood glucose levels, which may help promote weight loss and shrink stubborn belly fat.

3. Set realistic goals.

Declaring that you’re going to lose 20 pounds before your beach vacation next month is unrealistic, not to mention unhealthy. “Be honest with yourself. How do you feel? How healthy are you? Making life changes takes courage and mental fortitude,” says Dr. Petre. Break up big goals into smaller, more achievable ones. Focusing on how you’re feeling and the positive changes you’re making to your lifestyle, instead of the number on the scale, will help you stay motivated to reach your goals. “Triumphs make your courage grow,” she adds. “Small achievements amount to large goals achieved.”

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4. Consult a dietitian.

There are dozens of different eating plans buzzing around the internet, each claiming to help you shed the pounds without feeling deprived (some of best diets for weight loss in 2020 are the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH Diet, and WW Freestyle). If you’re not sure which one works best for your lifestyle, talk to a dietitian, who can break down the pros and cons and help you choose one that fits your nutritional needs and goals. An RD will also give you ideas on how to resolve road blocks that may get in the way of your goals, like emotional/stress eating, food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, and meal-prep fatigue.

5. Follow a structured plan.

At 50, you’ve been around the block enough times to know that fad diets don’t work. “No crazy fasts, cleanses, cutting out fats, or complex carbohydrates or proteins,” says Jillian Michaels, health and wellness expert and author of The 6 Keys: Unlock Your Genetic Potential for Ageless Strength, Health and Beauty. Instead, consider following a medically supervised, clinically proven plan. Dr. Petre explains that these types of programs have a weight-loss success rate of more than 75%, especially if they involve personal support and weekly check-ins.

6. Embrace strength training.

Even if you’ve never picked up a dumbbell in your life, now is the perfect time to learn to love the weight room (but seriously, if you’re a newbie, work with a trainer first so you don’t hurt yourself!). Because the secret to losing weight over 50 is this: Build more muscle mass to increase your metabolism (you’ve got about 20% less now than you did when you were 20). “The good news is you can turn all of this around with a well-structured weight-training routine,” Durbin says. “That can help you regain the ability to lose weight like you were able to 20 years ago,” he says. Aim to lift weights at least twice a week, whether you use free weights or machines or do bodyweight exercises. It doesn’t hurt to lift every day—just make sure to work different muscle groups or train differently each day.

7. Choose activities that are easy on the joints.

Janna Lowell, a Los Angeles–based personal trainer, says she gets the best results among her 50-somethings when she has them do some cross training in the pool. Tired joints can keep you from getting a great workout, she says, and aches and pains can turn some people off exercise completely. “Water exercise is easy on the joints and can boost range of motion as well,” says Lowell. “Even better, caloric expenditure is about 30% greater in the water than on land due to the resistance water creates.” No pool? No problem. Walking is another great, low-impact cardiovascular exercise, as are cycling, kayaking, yoga, and dancing.

8. Make the most out of every workout.

If you’re going to put in the effort to block out the time, squeeze into your sports bra, and get to the gym, don’t let your.exhaustion or aching joints hold you back from going all out! Alex Allred, a former national and professional athlete turned personal trainer, says this is one of her biggest pet peeves among 50-year-olds. “Far too many people think that just because they showed up, they’re working out,” says Allred. “But really, you need to be focused on what you’re doing and pushing yourself hard enough to break a sweat or at least complete the full range of motion of a certain exercise.” Not sure if you’re doing a move properly? Ask! “I wish more people would flag down a trainer and ask, ‘Am I doing this correctly?’ ” says Allred. It can make the difference between making the most of your exercise time to lose weight and wasting your time and injuring yourself.

9. See a physical therapist.

If an aching back, wonky knee, or creaky hip has kept you from working out on a regular basis, make an appointment with a physical therapist, suggests Samira Shuruk, an ACE-certified personal trainer. “After 50, many people have sustained injuries and don’t know what their activity options are,” she says. “Getting advice from a professional can truly help.” Physical therapy can also help you rehabilitate an old injury or ease joint and muscle pain, setting you up for pain-free workouts.

10. Overhaul your diet.

Just like pop music isn’t the same as it was when you were in your 30s, your metabolism has changed, too, which means you’re burning about 250 fewer calories each day. So if you continue to eat like you did in the early 2000s—and don’t increase your exercise—you’ll inevitably gain weight, says Katie Ferraro, R.D., a dietitian and assistant clinical professor of nutrition at the University of California–San Francisco School of Nursing. Eliminating the junk food in your diet and replacing it with loads of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can make cutting calories painless, she says.

11. Change how and when you eat.

It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that matters in your 50s, claims Anthony Dissen, M.A., R.D.N., Vice President of Nutrition at WellStart Health. He suggests focusing on fullness, not portion control, when you are planning your meals. “If our stomachs aren’t full, we don’t feel full, and we’ll stay hungry,” he points out. “When it comes to healthy weight loss and management, we want to strike that important balance between eating until we feel full and satisfied while still decreasing our overall calorie intake.”

12. Get your stress in check.

Between paying college tuition for your kids, juggling more and more responsibilities at work, and dealing with aging parents, your 50s can be a prime-time for stress, says Durbin. The result? Emotional eating and a schedule that seems too jam-packed for regular exercise sessions. The solution: Schedule your workouts like they’re doctor’s appointments, he says. Sticking to a consistent routine can not only help ease stress, it can also help you stay on track with your diet. After all, who wants to ruin the benefits of a tough sweat session by eating a donut?

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13. Get your sleep.

One great thing about being 50—you are completely over the social pressure to stay out late. (Though hormonal changes from menopause can have you staring at the ceiling at 2 a.m.) Doing your best to get 7-8 hours of snooze time every night is key to helping you lose weight, says Michaels. Dr. Petre adds that the two hormones that regulate appetite—leptin and ghrelin—go into overdrive without regular shut-eye. “This can trigger excessive hunger and lead to poor food choices and weight gain at any age,” she says. Find a list of proven of sleep strategies right here.

14. Be mindful—and meditate.

It’s important to practice mindfulness, especially when you’re eating. “The more we try to multi-task while we eat, the more likely we are to overeat and not feel as satisfied by the meal or snack we’ve just eaten,” Dr. Dissen explains. “By simply taking a breath and treating our mealtime as special, it allows us to really taste our food and notice its flavors, textures, and tastes.” Mindfulness can aid in stress relief, too. Michaels suggests practicing five to 10 minutes of meditation a day.

15. Practice self-care.

Whether it’s treating yourself to manicure or taking a mental health day from work, taking care of yourself shouldn’t be looked at as a luxury. The smallest gestures can make a big difference in reducing stress, which can make a big impact on your weight loss. Plus, when you show yourself a little more love, you can use that energy to do things that support your goals, like eating healthy, exercising, and meditating. Not sure how to start a self-care routine? First ask yourself why you need more time to take care of yourself. Are you working too many late hours at the office? Do you feel burned out and wish you could be calmer? Once you figure out why you need to make some more time for yourself, it can help you decide what will be a good activity or routine for you.

Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here. For added fun, follow us on Instagram.

Leah Groth Contributor Leah Groth is a news writer and regular contributor to Prevention.

The Best Diet Plan for Women Over 50: How to Stay Healthy for Life!

Weight loss after 50 isn’t as difficult as it seems when you have the right diet and exercise plans in place. Popular fad diets often work well short term but if you’re seeking a meal plan you can maintain for life, give the Fit Mother Project a try!

It uses the same healthy eating principals as the Fit Father Project, which has helped thousands of busy dads over 40 shed unwanted pounds and keep the weight off indefinitely. Knowing more about the best diet plan for women over 50 will steer you in the right direction!

Weight Loss in Women vs. Men Over 50

Weight loss in women over 50 is similar to weight loss in younger women and men but with fewer calories. As men and women age their metabolisms tend to slow down, requiring fewer calories to sustain everyday functions.

While men over 50 often require about 1,500-1,800 calories daily for weight loss, women in the same age category may need just 1,200-1,500 calories daily to drop about 1-2 pounds per week.

Your individual calorie needs may be more or less than this depending on your size, metabolism, and activity level.

When you’ve reached your goal weight, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 estimate the following weight maintenance calorie needs for various age and physical activity categories:

Sedentary Adults

Moderate Active Adults

Active Adults

Some fad weight loss diets work well short term but aren’t sustainable for a life time.

That’s because these diets lack sufficient essential nutrients needed to maintain high energy levels, prevent deficiencies, and stay healthy long term.

As you age you might already be at risk of low bone density, weight gain, menopause symptoms, and fatigue so eating a well-balanced diet is especially important to maintain optimal health.

Popular Weight Loss Diets

You can use some of the concepts from popular weight loss diets when following the best diet plan for women over 50, but use caution when severely restricting food groups or calories. Below is a list of some common weight loss diets the pros and cons associated with them.

#1 Raw Food Diet

The raw food diet is a mostly plant-based diet that focuses on eating raw, unprocessed whole foods. Your raw food diet plan might contain 75-85% raw items, for example.

Foods you’ll eat include raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, soaked or sprouted grains and legumes, dried fruit, dried meats, plant milk, raw nut butters, cold-pressed plant oils, and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.

You’ll avoid processed foods, added sugars, cooked foods as much as possible, roasted nuts or seeds, refined oils, salt, pasteurized dairy foods and juices, coffee, tea, and alcohol.

The purpose of the raw food diet is to preserve as many nutrients as possible in raw foods, as cooking can reduce the vitamin, mineral, enzyme, and other nutritional content of your favorite foods.

The benefits of a raw food diet are you’ll get plenty of nutrition from whole, fiber-rich foods and eliminate junk foods associated with weight gain. You’ll probably lose weight when following a raw food diet plan.

But eating a diet consisting of mainly raw foods is difficult for many people to maintain long term.

#2 Paleo Diet

The paleo diet is like the raw food diet but you can eat cooked foods when you want to. It focuses on foods that early humans, or cavemen, probably ate.

When following a paleo diet you’ll avoid processed foods and replace them with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fish, and oils.

The paleo diet does not include grains, legumes, potatoes, dairy foods, processed foods, refined sugar, or salt.

As with the raw food diet you’ll probably lose weight when following a paleo diet because it’s a whole food diet free from processed foods and other junk food. However it’s very restrictive, difficult to follow long term for many people, and can put you at risk of nutrient deficiencies if you don’t carefully plan meals.

#3 Very Low-Calorie Diets

Very low-calorie diets, or VLCDs, contain 800 calories or less daily and often include liquid nutrition shakes as meal replacements. You might be able to drop up to 3-5 pounds per week when restricting your calories this much.

However it’s not feasible to maintain VLCDs long term as you’ll be at risk of nutrient deficiencies, hair loss, fatigue, and gallstones during rapid weight loss.

Furthermore, VLCDs don’t seem to be more effective for weight loss than low-calorie diets (LCDs), especially long term. Studies show that subjects following VLCDs containing 500 calories daily or LCDs providing1,250 calories per day experienced the same amount of weight loss after a 9-month follow up.

VLCDs are generally only safe under medical supervision. If you’d like to use a VLCD eating plan on your own, consume 800 calories once or twice a week instead of every day.

#4 Well-Balanced Low-Calorie Diets

The best weight loss diet plan for women over 50 is a well-balanced, low-calorie menu containing 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day (depending on your physical activity level). Well-balanced means eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, chicken, fish, seafood, tofu, seitan, eggs, nuts, dairy foods or plant milks, oils, and other healthy fats.

Try filling half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables, one fourth of each plate with protein foods (such as chicken, fish, eggs, or tofu), and one fourth of your plate with nutritious carbohydrates (whole grains, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, other legumes, or fruit).

Consume dairy foods or plant milk 2-3 times daily and add oils or other healthy fats to each meal or snack.

#5 Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets

Lowering your carbohydrate intake enhances weight and fat loss, according to numerous studies. But eating too few carbs can lead to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and even bad breath.

Lowering carbohydrate-rich refined foods, such as sweets, sugary drinks, white bread, and white rice, is an excellent weight loss strategy for women over 50.

To avoid the unpleasant side effects of very low-carb diets, including ketogenic diets that contain just 5% of your total calories from carbs, eat at least the carbohydrates recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 130 grams daily for adult women. Choose fiber-rich carbs like whole grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, and fruits.

#6 Low-Fat Diets

Studies show that low-fat diets are as effective as low-carb diets for weight and fat loss. But because your body requires dietary fat to feel full, function properly, and maximize heart and brain health, avoid weight loss diets that are very low in fat.

The Institute of Medicine recommends adults get 20-35% of their daily calories from dietary fat. Fat provides 9 calories per gram. Therefore if you’re following a 1,200-calorie meal plan for weight loss, aim to consume 26-47 grams of fat daily and avoid dropping below 26 grams per day. Foods rich in healthy fats include oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters, olives, fatty fish, and fish oil.

#6 Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Vegetarian diets lack meat, poultry, fish, and seafood. Some vegetarians eat eggs or dairy foods while vegan dieters eliminate animal foods entirely. Studies show that vegetarian diets, especially vegan diets, can significantly boost weight loss in overweight adults.

Eliminating meat is a simple weight loss strategy for women over 50 and a method for disease prevention, as red and processed meats are associated with certain types of cancer.

#7 Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting means you’ll fast, or not eat, during certain times of the day. Various forms of intermittent fasting include:

  • Alternate-day fasting: don’t eat for an entire day once or twice weekly (on non-consecutive days)
  • Eat only during an 8-hour window each day
  • Follow VLCDs (containing about 500-600 calories daily) on two non-consecutive days each week and eat normally the remaining five days
  • Eat just fruits and vegetables throughout the day except for one large meal in the evening

The rationale behind intermittent fasting is by not eating during specified time periods, you’ll reduce overall calorie intake and increase your chance of successful weight loss.

Studies show that intermittent fasting and intermittent calorie restriction are indeed effective strategies for many overweight adults.

Avoid drastic fasting measures so you can steer clear of side effects like fatigue, overindulging after fasts, hair loss, nutrient deficiencies, and difficulty concentrating. You don’t have to skip meals for an entire day to reap the numerous benefits of fasting. Eat during an 8-hour window or try alternate day VLCDs instead.

#8 The Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X)

The Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X) is weight loss program for busy moms of all ages. It’s designed after the popular Fit Father Project 30X (FF30X) for busy dads over 40, which has helped thousands of fathers achieve and maintain healthy weights for life.

The benefits of choosing FM30X for weight loss is it:

  • Is a well-balanced, low-calorie diet plan designed to maximize energy
  • Is effective for women of all ages, including women over 50
  • Contains motivational support from health experts
  • Includes fat-burning workouts
  • Provides healthy weight loss recipes
  • Includes weekly newsletters
  • Offers private fit mom Facebook group access for extra moral support

You can maintain the Fit Mother Project healthy eating plans indefinitely, even after you’ve reached your goal weight! FM30X is a lifestyle, not a fad diet.

Other Weight Loss Tips and Tricks

In addition to eating right and following FM30X, also known as the best diet plan for women over 50, try the following tips and tricks to enhance weight loss results:

#1 Have Your Hormones Checked

As women age estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid hormones can fluctuate and unbalanced hormones may hinder weight loss. Have your doctor monitor hormones regularly to boost your chance of successful weight loss.

#2 Sleep Enough

Chronic sleep deprivation can boost your appetite, making weight loss difficult. Make sure you’re sleeping between 7-9 hours each night during weight loss. Take a natural sleeping supplement, such as melatonin, or use a white noise machine if you’re a light sleeper. Avoid going to bed hungry or very full.

#3 Cut Alcohol and Smoking

Eliminating alcohol or cutting back on it is a simple way to nix calories for weight loss over 50, as you might be consuming up to 500 calories or more from alcoholic drinks.

Smoking is another habit to steer clear of, as it can hinder your ability to get a good night’s sleep and drastically increase your risk of cancer.

#4 Control Stress

Reduce chronic stress in your life to control cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite and the desire for high-fat, sugary comfort foods. To help yourself relax, avoid overbooking your schedule, take vacations, and try yoga, meditation, tai chi, or regular massages.

#5 Track Food Intake

Tracking calories and food intake is an excellent way to eat less. Studies show that keeping a daily food journal is associated with greater weight loss, especially long term, compared with non-consistent food tracking. Write down what you eat or use a calorie counting app like MyFitnessPal.

#6 Set Goals

Make the commitment to lose weight and improve your health before you begin a weight loss program. Prioritize looking and feeling great over sweets, fried food, and other junk foods.

Set food, exercise, and water intake goals. Aim to drink at least 12 cups of water daily and be physically active at least 30 minutes each day. Set and achieve even small goals to give you a feeling of accomplishment, and motivate you when times get tough. Reward yourself for achieving your goals!

#7 Weigh Yourself Daily

Regular weigh-ins keep you accountable for what you’re eating and how active you are. In fact, studies show that daily weigh-ins are more effective than weighing yourself weekly or less often. Weekly weight loss goals should be 1-2 pounds per week to boost your chance of long term success.

Get started with FM30X by signing up for the FREE Fit Mom Jumpstart Kit today! You’ll receive free diet and exercise plans, free coaching support from health experts, and will continue on the road toward a fitter, happier, healthier life! What do you have to lose?

Erin Coleman
Writer, The Fit Mother Project
A 15-year freelance writing veteran, Erin is registered dietitian and health educator who is passionate about health, fitness and disease prevention. Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife and mom of two beautiful children.

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What Is The Cruise Control Diet?

The Cruise Control Diet is a whole foods eating plan that discourages calorie counting and point systems. Instead, it guides you toward healthier food choices that help you to lose weight naturally1.

The basic premise is to eat low-glycemic foods that nourish and heal your body while allowing you to shed unwanted pounds1. Most of all, to do so without any kind of tracking or journaling so that the fat loss process becomes as stress-free as possible2.

Although The Cruise Control Diet has helped over 100,000 men and women of all ages to optimize their health, it’s people in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s (even 80’s and 90’s) that typically fair best on the program*. The reasons for this are twofold:

  1. As we get older our metabolism tends to slow down3. This is primarily due to muscle loss4. Insulin resistance further compounds the problem5. And because of this, traditional diet plans that may work great for people in their 20’s and 30’s, usually don’t have the same effect on people in their 50’s and 60’s5.
    The Cruise Control Diet takes this distinction into account and aims to improve your insulin sensitivity6. By doing so, it helps you to shed unwanted weight no matter how old you are (but especially if you happen to be older)6, 7.
  2. The Cruise Control Diet makes is a very loose program that fits into your lifestyle so you don’t feel burdened by strict rules and a rigid regimen.
    As a result, it helps to break the cycle of yo-yo dieting that’s common in older folks that have been on program after program over the course of several years*. The end result is a lifestyle change leading to successful weight loss*.

1 Juanola-Falgarona M et al. Effect of the glycemic index of the diet on weight loss, modulation of satiety, inflammation, and other metabolic risk factors: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;100(1):27-35.

2 A. Janet Tomiyama, Ph.D. et al. Low Calorie Dieting Increases Cortisol. Psychosom Med. 2010 May; 72(4): 357–364.

3 Susan B Robert et al. Energy requirements and aging. Public Health Nutrition: 8(7A), 1028–1036.

4 Poehlman ET et al. Determinants of decline in resting metabolic rate in aging females. Am J Physiol. 1993 Mar;264(3 Pt 1):E450-5.

5 Ryan AS. Insulin resistance with aging: effects of diet and exercise. Sports Med. 2000 Nov;30(5):327-46.

6 Gower BA et al. A lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet reduces abdominal and intermuscular fat and increases insulin sensitivity in adults at risk of type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 2015 Jan;145(1):177S-83S.

7 Bazzano LA et al. Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2014 Sep 2;161(5):309-18.

(This article previously appeared on Grandparents.com.)

Though you may eat the same foods you’ve always eaten since you were a kid, your nutritional needs change throughout your life.
“In youth, it’s all about growth and maintaining a body that can procreate,” says nutrition and fitness expert Dr. Pamela Peeke, author of The New York Times bestseller, The Hunger Fix. “After the age of 50, the goal is to prevent disease by maintaining an optimally healthy and active mind and body.”
Being in the best health possible means what we eat as we age matters. “As we get older, metabolism slows, and the body’s ability to break down and use its fuel sources becomes less efficient,” Peeke says.
(MORE: The Top 6 Healthy Foods to Put In Your Shopping Cart)
In addition, certain vitamins become more important to help protect against diseases and health issues.
Here are the foods you should be eating to keep your body strong and mind sharp:

1. Fiber-rich foods, like raspberries

This, unfortunately, is something you may already know from experience: Your gastrointestinal functioning slows down as you age, and as a result, it’s important to focus on eating enough fiber to keep your system moving along.
“Fiber not only helps your gastrointestinal function run smoothly, but it also decreases gastrointestinal inflammation and cholesterol, while providing a slow release of energy-rich carbohydrates into the bloodstream,” Peeke says. “Senior women and men should aim for about 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day,” she says.
Some of the best fiber sources: raspberries, which according to The Mayo Clinic have 8 grams per cup; whole wheat pasta, 6.3 grams per cup; lentils, 15.6 grams per cup and green peas, 8.8 grams per cup.

2. Corn flakes and other B12 foods

“As the body ages, the stomach’s acidity decreases, and as a result, it’s harder to get enough vitamin B12 in your diet,” Peeke says. Stomach acid helps release vitamin B12 from food and B12 is important because it helps maintain a healthy nervous system and key metabolic processes.
“An estimated 10 to 30 percent of adults over the age of 50 have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from food,” Peeke says. “People who regularly take medications that suppress stomach acid — such as antacids — may also have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from food.” People over 50 typically should get 2.4 micrograms of B12 every day.
Foods that come from animals, such as meat, eggs, seafood and dairy, have the highest amounts of B12, but you can also get the vitamin from B12-fortified foods such as whole-grain cereals. If you’re concerned about not getting enough B12, talk to your doctor about adding a multivitamin or B12 supplement to your diet.

3. Turmeric and cinnamon

Another thing to go as we get older — taste. “Aging produces a decrease in saliva production and ability to perceive taste,” Peeke says. That means you might want to start experimenting with different spices, including turmeric.
(MORE: 8 Herbs and Spices That Fight Disease)
“Turmeric has been shown to boost immune function and also decrease joint inflammation and prevent arthritis in older women,” Peeke says. Other research has shown turmeric, and its main active compound curcumin, may have a real effect on preventing Alzheimer’s and some forms of cancer.
Another spice to add into your cooking rotation: cinnamon. “Cinnamon is well-known as an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent,” Peeke says.
Cinnamon also helps to maintain control of blood sugar since it slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, which evens out blood sugar highs and lows. “Studies also suggest a therapeutic use of cinnamon for type 2 diabetes, as it appears to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin,” she says. “Having as little as one gram of cinnamon daily was shown to reduce blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.”

4. Water

Our sensation of taste declines as we age, so also does thirst, which means dehydration is more common.
Water is also important to optimize the body’s metabolic functions. “Women need nine cups of water, while men should drink 13 cups daily,” Peeke says. “If you’re more physically active and also live in a hotter climate, you’ll need more.”

5. Bananas and other potassium sources

It’s a fact that the risk of stroke and heart disease increases as we age. One way to help lower your risk: Eat foods that are excellent sources of potassium, like bananas and avocados.
(MORE: Love Your Heart With These Healthy Dishes)
A recent study of women aged 50 to 70 found that those who ate the highest amounts of potassium were least likely to experience a stroke. Potassium also can play a key role in lowering blood pressure, according to the World Health Organization.
The recommended daily amount of potassium you should be getting is 4,700 milligrams. Foods rich in potassium are potatoes, with almost 900 milligrams in one potato; bananas, 400 milligrams in one banana; avocado, over 700 milligrams per cup; and pistachios, with a whopping 1,200 milligrams per cup.

6. Calcium-rich foods

“Calcium is known mostly for its role in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, but it is also required for proper functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system,” Peeke says.
The goal is to consume 1,200 milligrams daily for men and women, but intake, Peeke continues, is an issue for men and women because of two things:

  • Consuming enough calcium can be a problem for people who are lactose intolerant, a common problem as you age.
  • Not having enough vitamin D in your body, which is necessary for you to absorb calcium (and also helps to boost immune function). “Research has shown that as you age, your access to sunlight as well as vitamin D-rich foods, topped by absorbing D less efficiently, all contribute to significantly below-normal levels of this all-important vitamin,” she says.

How to combat these two issues? “If you are lactose intolerant, eat leafy greens, such as collards, mustard, kale, and bok choy,” Peeke says. “You can also try canned salmon (with bones) and sardines, as well as tofu that has been made with a calcium compound.”
As for getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor to test your vitamin D level. The goal is to be within 50-70 nmol/L. If your D is low, solutions include: eating D-rich foods; getting that 15 minutes in the sun every day; and taking a supplement recommended by your doctor.

7. Broccoli and other leafy greens

Protecting your eyes is key as time goes on, particularly since many eye problems come with aging. Lutein, related to beta carotene and vitamin A, is a valuable nutrient you need to optimize vision and prevent macular degeneration. And most people over 50 don’t get enough of it. Green leafy vegetables, along with grapes, oranges and egg yolks, are excellent sources of lutein.
Other Eating Tips
Aside from adding the foods we mentioned to your diet, Peeke suggests these general healthy-eating guidelines:

  • Decreasing saturated fats is important to prevent cardiovascular disease, so focus on healthy fats derived from nuts, lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy, olive oil and plant-based sources like avocados.
  • Since metabolism slows with aging, it’s important to adjust how many calories you’re eating daily. Even if you’re active you need to do this. Generally, the range is 1,400-2,400 calories a day, with men having the larger number of calories.
  • Eliminate or minimize refined, processed food and drinks such as cookies, chips, candies, cakes and pastries. These processed foods contribute to increased inflammation throughout the body, which then increases the risk for cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Consider supplements and a multivitamin. “Supplements in general are important to seniors, but you need to discuss what you’re taking with your doctor,” Peeke says. “In addition to the supplements, a gender- and age-specific multivitamin is important as well.”

By Ellen Breslau

Next Avenue Editors Also Recommend:

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