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5 Eating Habits That Are Aging You Faster, Say Dietitians

If you want to take steps to fight father time, ditch these eating habits.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Aging is an inevitable factor of life. One day we are wrinkle-free and jumping around pain-free, and somewhere along the way, our skin can start not looking as youthful and our knees can start creaking when we go for a simple jog.

There are no surefire ways to prevent aging, but there are some things you may be doing that are accelerating the aging process, whether you know it or not.

If you are one who embraces the aging process and you look at wrinkles and looser skin as a badge of honor or a sign of a life well-lived, then more power to you. But if you are of the school of thought that you need to take steps to fight father time and do your part to maintain a youthful appearance, healthy joints, and even a longer life, read on to learn five eating habits that are aging you faster, according to registered dietitians, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science.

You aren't eating enough protein.

grilled chicken

"Not eating enough protein can age a person faster," explains Anya Rosen, MS, RDN, LD, adding that dietary protein helps maintain lean body mass. As such, loss of muscle as we age, also known as sarcopenia, "contributes to injuries and chronic illness."

You are eating too much sugar.

woman eating cake

Sure, eating sweets and treats is totally delish. But overindulging in sugar can play a role in aging you faster.

"Eating a diet high in sugar can age you faster," registered dietitian Kathryn Piper, RDN, LD explains. She adds that this eating habit can "cause elevated blood glucose levels, which can stimulate the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs)."

Piper shares that these AGEs cause "collagen damage," which can increase fine lines and wrinkles. "Sun exposure accelerates this process and adds to an individual's signs of aging."

 The #1 Best Supplement to Slow Aging, Say Experts

You aren't eating enough fiber.

pushing broccoli plate away

Fiber is important for keeping bowel movements regular and promoting satiety. And according to Jeanette Kimszal, RDN, NLC, not eating adequate fiber "may increase aging." She shares that fiber "is associated with lower disease risk and eating it has been tied to improvements in inflammation and gut health as well." These factors "have been associated with longevity."

She also adds that "fiber intake itself has been high among individuals who have aged successfully."

You eat excessive amounts of processed meats.


Eating bacon, sausage, and lunch meats may taste great, but eating them frequently won't do your body any favors in the aging department. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning that eating these foods is linked to an increased cancer risk.

And since many of these foods are loaded with sodium, eating them in excess may be linked to cellular aging.

You aren't eating orange veggies.

sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash all contain beta carotene, a carotenoid that offers some unique health benefits.

Carotenoids, like beta carotene, accumulate in our outermost skin layer and act as a protective barrier to ultraviolet radiation. Eating foods with beta carotene help improve skin aging by supporting skin elasticity and hydration, ultimately reducing the development of wrinkles and age spots. Data also shows that including adequate amounts of beta carotene in your diet may help protect the skin from UV ray damage.

Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren