New Nutrition Guidelines Coming Soon for Senior Citizens

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 29, 2005 | Go to article overview

New Nutrition Guidelines Coming Soon for Senior Citizens


Byline: Cecelia Sanders

The government is coming out with new nutrition guidelines, which will be different, and based on age and other factors rather than just sex.

Now, the basis for diets is 2,000 calories, used for the nutritional information on canned, frozen and boxed goods. If you are a child, or an older person, the amount of food you need is considerably less.

Younger women should be eating approximately 1,800 calories a day, while an active male may need 2,200 or more calories each day.

The food pyramid for older adults will be narrower, suggesting that with less activity, and a changing body composition, 1,600 calories a day should be the norm.

For example, older people will have water as the base of the pyramid. Liquid in a diet is very important; it prevents constipation and dehydration. Seniors often do not feel thirsty and thus do not drink as much as they should.

This fluid can be taken in not just by drinking water. Having a glass of milk (also high in calcium, another nutrient older people should have more of), juices (100 percent juices are best, and those which are calcium-enriched are also good), non-sugared soda (the regular sodas are high in sodium, sugar and calories), and even soup, count.

In addition, supplements such as calcium, vitamins D and B-12 and fiber will be part of the senior pyramid. Calcium (three servings a day), found in milk, cheeses, yogurt, etc., should total 1,200 to 1,400 milligrams. Calcium carbonate or calcium citrate in the form of pills can be used to bring the total to the necessary levels.

Vitamin D, 600 international units, is also found in milk (but not in cheese or yogurt), and exposure to sunlight (wear sunscreen when out of doors, however). Many multivitamins include this in their composition, as well as B-12, which can be found in fortified cereals, but not easily found in other foods.

Another component of the new pyramid for seniors is fiber. This can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables, soy products, and whole grains. Fiber also helps to lower cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Since 20 to 30 grams of fiber are recommended daily, check nutrition labels. Look for "whole grain" as the first or second ingredient in breads and cereals. …

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