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Popular Foods You Should Never Eat After 50, Say Dietitians

If you want to maintain your health after 50, it's time to ditch these foods from your diet.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Turning 50 is a major milestone and one that can bring about major changes for your health and wellbeing. While for some people this can spark a newfound commitment to healthy living, for many others, it can mean that staying in shape is harder than ever before. That's why it's such a critical time to make your wellbeing your top priority—starting with what you're eating.

If you want to maintain your health, read on to discover which foods registered dietitians say you should never eat over 50. And if you're eager to shed a few pounds, try these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

Deli meat

deli meats on wood plate

While some deli meats may be billed as low in calories (roast turkey, we're looking at your), that doesn't mean they're health foods.

"Deli meats are highly processed and tend to have a lot of sodium and preservatives," says Megan Wong, RD, a registered dietitian at AlgaeCal. "People with, or at risk for, high blood pressure do not need extra sodium in their diet. Excess sodium causes fluid retention, increasing blood volume, which can lead to increased blood pressure."

Wong adds that preservatives in deli meats have even been linked to increased colorectal cancer risk. If you do choose to eat deli meat, "Check the product label and opt for deli meats that are free from nitrates/ nitrites and are lower in sodium," Wong recommends. See: These Are The 10 Best Low-Sodium Lunch Meats to Buy.

Processed desserts

dark chocolate layer cake

If you want to improve your health over 50, you may want to reconsider those high-sugar desserts that have become part of your regular routine.

"Cookies, candy, and other baked goods are all high in added sugars. This contributes to inflammation, which increases the risk for health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. They also contribute to weight gain," says Melissa Mitri, MS, RD, a registered dietitian for Wellness Verge. And for more incentive to cut those sweet treats from your meal plan, check out these Side Effects of Giving Up Sugar, According to Science.

Cured meats

Processed meats sausage hot dog red meat deli meat

While they may be high in satiating protein, cured meats are doing no favors for your overall health.

"Meats such as hot dogs, sausage, and bacon are high in saturated fat, sodium, and cancer-causing ingredients such as nitrates," explains Mitri, who notes that these meats offer little in the way of nutritional value. Considering that approximately 45% of U.S. adults have hypertension—a condition exacerbated by high-fat and high-sodium diets—it's best to leave these foods on the shelf.

Fried foods

French fries with ketchup on dark background, top view

You probably know that fried foods aren't exactly healthy, but experts say that eating them is a particularly risky choice after 50.

"Fried foods are high in saturated fats, which contribute to heart disease, especially as we age," says Mitri. "They also are high in calories, increasing the risk of weight gain," she adds. And if you're thinking of giving up those deep-fried snacks, check out these Dangerous Side Effects of Eating Fried Foods, According to Science.



With high sugar and little nutritional value, cutting out soda is a no-brainer for anyone eager to improve their health.

"Older adults tend to have smaller appetites, so it's crucial to focus on nutrient-dense foods when eating, instead of wasting their appetite on empty calories," says Wong. "Not only is soda simply a source of empty calories—providing calories without any nutritional value—it can also cause or worsen chronic diseases that become more prevalent with age," including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dementia, Wong explains.

"Dark sodas are even more problematic because the phosphoric acid causes calcium to be lost from bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures," Wong adds. For more insight into how those sugary drinks stack up, check out the 112 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are, and for the latest health and nutrition news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah
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