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The #1 Worst Drink to Have After 50, Says Dietitian

Cutting out this beverage can help you stay healthy as you age.

When you were nineteen, you may have gotten away with scarfing down multiple slices of pizza and washing them down with a few beers without much trouble. However, as you grow older, you may begin to notice that the dietary choices you make can have a negative effect on your body.

And with so many emerging studies on age-related diseases like Alzheimer's coming out as of late, the need to eat for longevity is especially eminent.

Some beverages, for instance, may leave you feeling satisfied and energized, while others could be taking a toll on your health. While just about any beverage is okay to drink in moderation, when it comes to those you drink every day, you may want to stick to healthy options such as water and green tea.

According to a registered dietitian, the type of beverage you'll want to avoid is a sugary soft drink.

RELATED: The Best & Worst Drinks on Shelves in 2021—Ranked!

"Hands down, sugar-sweetened beverages are the least healthy beverage option for people over 50," Hillary Wright, MEd, RDN, LDN, co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan told Eat This, Not That! "They don't contribute to a feeling of fullness… [the] risk of insulin resistance also increases with age, and sugar-sweetened beverages have been tied to higher rates of diabetes."

Additionally, soft drinks not only can hurt your body as you age but also your mind. A 2017 study in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia found that the more sugary beverages you drink, the more your brain volume decreases and the worse your memory will be. 

If you are looking for a beverage that will leave you feeling satisfied, a 2012 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that milk leaves people feeling significantly more satisfied than sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

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In fact, even if you're really craving a sweet beverage, there are plenty of better-for-you options than reaching for a can of Coca-cola. A 2007 study from the British Journal of Nutrition found that chocolate milk also leaves people feeling more satisfied than carbonated beverages. That being said, when study participants drank either chocolate milk or a soft drink before lunch, it didn't affect how much food they ended up eating during the meal.

If drinking soda in moderation won't cut it for you, and you want to enjoy the fizziness of a soft drink on a daily basis, there are still healthier swaps that you can make. Flavored sparkling waters, for instance, can be a good substitute. (If you're not sure about which ones to buy, check out these 10 sparkling water brands.)

For more tips on staying healthy as you age, make sure to read These Drinks Are Causing You to Age Faster, New Research Says. Then, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter!

Clara Olshansky
Clara Olshansky (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based writer and comic whose web content has appeared in Food & Wine, Harper’s Magazine, Men's Health, and Reductress. Read more
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