Drinking Habits That Are Wrecking Your Body After 50, Say Dietitians
If you occasionally splurge and enjoy a latte or soda, you aren't causing too much damage to your body. But if you're enjoying these sugary beverages on a regular basis, that's a whole different story. Having a habit of drinking sugary beverages can be causing more damage to your health than you realize—especially as you age.
Luckily, we consulted a variety of registered dietitians to figure out which drinking habits anyone over the age of 50 needs to quit, so you can start making healthier choices for your body for the long hall. Here's what they recommend, and for even more drinking tips, be sure to read up on our list of the 112 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.
Drinking too much sugar
Anyone at any age can do themself a favor and avoid excess sugar, but anyone over 50 should take special care to cut down on the sweet stuff.
"While moderation is key for healthy eating, consuming too much sugar in one drink is something one should be mindful of, especially those over the age of 50," says Megan Roosevelt, RDN, founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com, and Purecane partner. "This is because traditional sugar includes no nutritional benefits and instead may increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and insulin resistance—a key player in developing type 2 diabetes. A diet high in sugar may also contribute to mood disorders and increase the risk of dementia, high blood pressure, liver disease, and certain types of cancer."
Overindulging in alcohol
"Alcohol is often considered 'empty calories,' meaning that it provides the body with calories yet no nutritional value," Roosevelt continues. "Even alcohol options with no sugar may contribute to weight gain due to the fact that liquid calories lack fiber, protein, fat or any nutrients that would contribute to feeling full and satisfied. This can lead to excess caloric intake and even skipping out on a more nutritious option in place of that second glass of beer or wine."
If you want to splurge every now and then, make sure to choose wisely. Check out The #1 Best Alcoholic Beverage To Drink, Says Dietitian to get the best nutritional bang for your buck next time you hit the town.
Not drinking enough water
"Another very important detrimental habit is not drinking enough water," says Dr. Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, and a member of our medical expert board. "So often we worry about drinking too much soda and alcohol as a problem for those over 50, but not drinking enough fluids, in particular, water is equally problematic."
Young also points that "not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration as well as constipation. While eating high fiber foods is important to help prevent constipation, fiber works best when it's paired with enough water. Add lemon, mint, or even a splash of your favorite juice [to] help make water more appealing."
Drinking too much sodium
"Taking too much sodium in drinks can increase the risk for many health conditions and illnesses," says Shannon Henry, RD at EZCare Clinic. "For example, an immoderate sodium quantity in your blood can cause fluid retention, which increases your risk of high blood pressure."
"People over the age of 50 or 55 are already at increased risk for high blood pressure and can increase their risk by consuming drinks high in sodium," Henry continues. "High blood pressure can contribute to health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, and strokes. In addition, a high intake of sodium increases the flow of calcium in your urine, which causes your body to excrete calcium from your bones. Calcium deficiency is often a concern for women, especially if women over the age of 50 are left untreated after menopause, which can eventually lead to low bone density or osteoporosis."
Henry warns that anyone over 50 should watch out for drinks that contain sugary syrups and avoid fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, and canned soups.
Ordering mixed drinks
"Ordering or making mixed drinks contains soda, sugar, syrups," says Catherine Sebastian, MS, RD, CDN. "All these additives add calories and are high in sugar, and as our body gets older, there is an increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes where risk factors are attributed to lifestyle habits."
When you want to order the perfect cocktail without the fuss of health, consult our list of these 20 Tips for Choosing Healthy Alcoholic Drinks.
Drinking alcohol with medications
No one should mix alcohol and medicine, but anyone who has hit 50 has to take extra precautions in order to avoid undue damage.
"People over 50 are generally prescribed medication and some are taken daily," says Sebastian. "Drinking on medication puts the liver at high stress since alcohol can be toxic to the [liver] and drugs are biotransformed in the liver."
Casual daily drinking
Once you hit middle age, you need to call it quits on day drinking and drinking every day.
"The casual daily drinking—let's say a beer after work or a glass of wine—these daily calories add up and can make it difficult for weight management," says Sebastian. "As we get older, our body needs less calories and calories from drinking contribute empty calories and none of the nutrients we need. The casual daily drinking can seem harmless but adds up."
For even more healthy drinking tips, read these next:
- The Verdict on the Worst Drinks for Weight Loss, According to Dietitians
- Drinking Habits to Avoid If You Don't Want High Cholesterol, Say Experts
- Popular Drinks To Avoid to Lower Your Heart Disease Risk, Says Dietitian