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Eating Habits To Speed Up Belly Fat Loss As You Age, Say Dietitians

You can still target your midsection in your golden years.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Aging can bring us some wonderful things. From finally being able to take advantage of those senior citizen discounts to having the wisdom that only people who have lived a rich life have, adding years to your life can be a true blessing.

But among all of the positives that come with getting older, there are some downsides too—one being that accumulating belly fat can become more likely.

If you are older and you are noticing that it is getting harder to manage your weight, know that it isn't all in your head, as data shows that certain changes occur in the body that makes it harder to lose weight as we age.

And when it comes to belly fat, older adults are unfortunately at a disadvantage when compared to younger people, as people who age do not appear to burn the energy stored in fat cells as efficiently as younger adults. This lack of ability to use fat cells efficiently can play a role in accumulating belly fat, and it can make it harder to lose belly fat too.

The good news is that if you are in your golden years, there are some things you can do that can help you speed up belly fat loss in a natural way. Along with participating in physical activity, prioritizing sleep, and managing stress, here are six eating habits that may help speed up belly fat loss as you age, according to nutrition experts. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss Effortless Ways to Lose Weight As You Age, Say Dietitians.

1

Add more fiber to your diet

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It is recommended that people over the age of 50 take in between 21 and 30 grams of fiber every day. While fiber is oftentimes known for supporting healthy bowel movements, including it in your diet may help melt off belly fat as well, specifically by "reducing bloating and belly fat," according to Michelle Phulsuksombati, MS, Med, RD, LD, registered dietitian.

Fruit with the skin still on, chia seeds, and beans are all fantastic sources of dietary fiber.

2

Stay hydrated

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Maintaining proper hydration can have a profound impact on your belly fat as you age, according to Samantha Coogan, MS, RDN, registered dietitian. "Not only can water help remove bodily wastes, assist in appetite control, and speed up metabolism, it's necessary for fat burn, as mild forms of dehydration can decrease [fat cell breakdown]," Coogan explains.

3

Prioritize anti-inflammatory foods

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Chronic inflammation is linked to a slew of negative health outcomes, including weight gain. And according to Sharon Puello, MA, RD, CDN, CDCES, registered dietitian, "the presence of inflammation has been tied to the accumulation of belly fat too."

She suggests that people reduce their intake of added sugars, maximize their intake of whole, minimally processed foods, and include fish in their diet a couple times a week to help manage inflammation.

READ MORE: 5 Foods Secretly Increasing Inflammation In Your Body, Say Dietitians

4

Quit drinking alcohol

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If you truly want a flatter tummy when you are older, avoiding alcohol is one step that can help you reach your goal.

Alcohol "adds empty calories to your diet and lowers inhibitions (so you eat more). It also impacts sleep, which can lead to increased cravings and weight gain," explains registered dietitian Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD.

5

Supplement with vitamin B12

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Adding certain supplements as we age is a must, as our needs and our typical intakes change. And taking a vitamin B12 supplement may be a good move if you are trying to lose some belly fat.

"As we age, our ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases," Anya Rosen, MD, RD, LD, registered dietitian, explains. She adds that vitamin B12 "has been found to be a key player in metabolism and fat loss."

6

Include lean proteins

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Between lean beef, beans, lentils, legumes, and fish, there is no shortage of lean protein choices. And including these foods in your diet may help you lose belly fat as you age.

"After the age of 30, our muscle mass starts to decrease," Jamie Adams, MS, RD, LDN, registered dietitian explains. Eating enough protein can help support muscle mass, making it an important piece of the belly fat loss puzzle.

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