As we age, our bodies age as well; resistance to unhealthy food weakens, ability to cope the extra calories decreases, and the digestive system reacts differently to foods we used to eat. Keeping that in mind, there are some foods that you best stay away from, or at least limit. Below are 7 general categories to be wary of.
Sugar can cause multiple changes in our cellular membranes, arteries, hormones, immune system, gut health, and even the good bacteria in our gut and on our skin (microbiome). Besides spiking insulin and inflammation, too much sugar can cause the skin to age faster since glucose and fructose can compromise the collagen and elastin that support the skin’s elasticity.
“Sugar-free” snacks often replace sugars with artificial ingredients or added fats which is why you should read the labels carefully. Watch out for foods that add large amounts of saturated or trans fat, excess sodium, artificial sweeteners (like aspartame, sucralose, and stevioside), or additional refined flours to replace added sugars. Even though artificial sweeteners are almost zero calories, they increase your cravings for more sugar and can actually lead to weight gain, diabetes, and other health conditions.
Carbonated drinks & Fruit Juice
Carbonated drinks are usually rich in caffeine, fructose, and refined sugar (or artificial sweeteners for the diet versions). Fruit juice might seem healthy but it is very rich in fructose and is stripped off the beneficial fiber in the fruit. In addition to the previously mentioned risks of sugar and artificial sugar, fructose has been linked to abdominal fat, which is a dangerous type of fat that has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases. Caffeine is said to potentially trigger gout.
White bread and White Pasta
Refined grains have been stripped of fiber and other nutrients in order to obtain the white color. Refined and processed grains cause your blood sugar to spike rapidly and fall quickly (have a high glycemic index level); therefore, consuming too many of these refined foods can lead to metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. This may also result in inflammation and in activating hormones that change the composition of your skin’s oil, making it more prone to acne formation.
Fast food & Fried Food
Eating fast and fried food can increase insulin resistance, which in turn increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. It actually turns out that cooking meat at very high temperatures can increase the levels of chemicals called heterocyclic amines in the protein, which can be carcinogenic. Fried foods like French fries and fried chicken lose almost all their nutritional value in the frying process and serve merely to pump your arteries with oils. They are also very high in calories that your body can no longer afford to resist.
Processed meats are high in hypertension inducing sodium, saturated fats, and cancer-causing nitrates and nitrites. We already have an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stomach cancer as we age, and high intake of processed meats has been linked with a greater chance of developing these diseases.
Butter and margarine
Margarine contains large amounts of saturated fats and is loaded with processed oils. Some companies even add propylene glycol, which was shown to increase cholesterol levels and cause weight gain. Organic butter is relatively healthier than margarine but it still contains more calories than your body necessarily likes to handle.