Can I benefit from a keto diet if I’m over 50 years old?
A ketogenic diet is a good diet for the young and the old.
However, if you are over fifty like us, you may have:
- Established beliefs that you are battling against, and
- Some metabolic damage that you have accumulated over the years as a result of poor food choices.
These two factors make weight loss a little bit more challenging for men and women as we age.
In this post, we share five keto tips for those of us over the age of fifty.
5 Keto/Low-Carb Tips for The Over 50 Crowd [Video]
The Challenges Of Starting Keto Over 50 Years Old
So going back, decades right, the war on fat started back in the early 70s. In the early 70s, I was a teenager.
Yeah, I was not quite…
You were close.
The food pyramid came out in the early 90s.
So we had decades of learning that fat was bad.
Yeah, so we grew up with all these misconceptions, right? We grew up being taught that:
- Eating fat makes you fat. So everything was low fat or no fat.
- We learned that eating sugar was required for energy.
Becky’s Pep-Pills Anecdote
Like the pep-pills!
So when I was a kid in the 70s, remember those Smarties? The little roll of candies in the plastic wrappers?
So I would take those out on our property. I would put them in my pocket and then use them like pep-pills. I would pretend that they are like energy pills for a superhero.
Well, and I remember Underdog had a super energy pill in his ring.
Maybe it was a smartie in his ring!
It could have been a smartie.
Yeah, you know, we were also told that breakfast was absolutely, without a doubt, the most important meal of the day.
Also, you needed to eat a lot of carbs for breakfast.
So what did we eat?
When we were growing up, cereal for sure,
Yeah and french toast, pancakes, waffles; All that stuff.
You know it was not “healthy cereal,” either.
Well, your favorite was…What was that?
Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries.
Yeah, blue cereal. That can’t be good for you.
Tip #1: It Is Okay To Skip Breakfast
But that brings us to our first tip, which is: You can skip breakfast.
Actually, a ketogenic diet or low-carb diet and skipping breakfast (also known as intermittent fasting) do go hand-in-hand.
Breakfast and a ketogenic diet really do work well for a lot of people, and we see that in our comments underneath our videos.
However, I think the question that we often have over the age of fifty is,
“Well, is this really healthy, or am I just doing this and losing weight by losing my health at the same time?”
I had done a video on intermittent fasting over the age of fifty for women. Is it helpful or harmful?
In that video, I talked about a review study that came out in 2016. Since it was a review study, it was looking at and collating all of the studies that were done on women’s health, intermittent fasting, and aging.
What they found was overwhelmingly positive results from these women.
They were losing belly fat because of intermittent fasting, muscle, and joint health improvement, and there was even a reduction in depression.
Some of the studies that they brought into this review study also talked about the positive effect intermittent fasting had against cancer. According to studies, it might even close off some pathways to certain cancers.
Yeah, so there may also be some supportive evidence there for following a ketogenic diet in those cases.
Tip #2: Add Fat
So we talked about all those misconceptions that we grew up with, right?
So now we know that eating fat does not make you fat. Eating sugar is what makes you fat. Sugar makes your insulin go up.
Right, which kind of takes us into our next two points. So the first one…
You should add some fat to your diet.
For example, what we personally would do is with our non-starchy vegetables, or the things that we saute, is add in some butter, avocado oil, or coconut oil to get those good, healthy-fats in there.
That is good in a number of ways.
Having those fats in with those vegetables helps your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins that are in those vegetables.
Yeah, so we bring this up as a point to say that it is important to add fat because that is such a hard thing for people to grasp over the age of fifty.
Keith was just talking about sauteing vegetables.
You know, we grew up with the low-fat salad dressings. What’s in a low-fat salad dressing to make it palatable? Sugar.
Put full-fat salad dressing on your salad, and you will actually be able to pull more of the fat-soluble vitamins and minerals out.
Tip #3: Avoid Refined Carbs
Right, so obviously we are talking about eating vegetables, which are carbohydrates, right? So that takes us to point three: We need to avoid refined carbohydrates.
We are talking about anything that gets refined. Sugar always comes from a plant. The more refined a plant is, the further away it gets from its natural state in that plant.
So in a plant, the fiber molecules are typically locked into the fibers. When you are eating a whole plant or vegetable that sugar is not going to get into your system super fast like it does if you are taking a teaspoon of sugar, and spiking your insulin.
This is going to again lead to that fat deposition, where you don’t want it to be going on.
Yeah, and I think this is important because as a keto diet or as low-carb dieting starts to really get ahold (which is a wonderful thing), we’re starting to see some food manufacturers come up with keto-friendly foods.
These foods are not in their whole state anymore. They have been processed.
The food manufacturers may also throw in some fiber, so they can bring down that net carb amount, which we talk about often.
We won’t get deep into net carbs here, but that’s really the point that we’re looking at: Eat your carbs in a whole state.
Tip #4: Cook At Home More Often
That parlays into our fourth tip, which is:
Cook at home more often. You will know what is in your food.
I will say, you know, we certainly are not against going out to eat. In fact, we are probably leaving in about fifteen minutes to go out to our standing lunch date.
Twenty-five years; Every Wednesday.
…We’ve been married for 26 years.
All right. Well, we’ll talk about that at lunch.
It might be our last lunch.
Anyway, the advantage is that you do know what is in your food.
Now when we do go out to eat, and especially when you were losing your eighty pounds, you were very religious about checking the restaurant online before we went.
And you were really picking what you were going to eat.
Right. You can’t do this with like your local, mom-and-pop restaurants, unfortunately. You have no idea, and they don’t usually have any idea.
However, most of the larger chains have all this nutritional information available for you online. They also have the menus online, so you can look this stuff up before you go.
Also, we talked about restaurants and what they do to make their food more palpable, right?
Yeah, what are they in the business of? Making food taste good.
How do you make food more palatable? Well, one way is to add sugar.
Keith’s French Fry Anecdote
So that always makes me think of McDonald’s french fries.
McDonald’s french fries are like to die for, right? I mean everybody loves McDonald’s fries. It is because they put sugar in the salt mix that they sprinkle on.
It has everything you need, right? You eat it, and it goes ‘boom‘ right into your brain.
Yeah, so you really do have to watch out for things that you would absolutely not think that they would put sugar in.
You certainly can eat out on keto, but you might want to check online first.
Tip #5: Mindset Matters
That brings us to our last tip, which is mindset matters.
We have gotten a lot of things ingrained in us over the years, but the reality is that as we get over the age of fifty, our metabolisms do change.
They are not what they were.
So our thoughts and expectations have to be adjusted.
You can reach monumental health at this age, but you have to be smart about it.
On my other channel, I had just recently done a video on losing weight over sixty. It was a great video because the members of my Freedom Health Program came together and provided me with some answers to questions.
Now, this was over sixty, but over fifty counts too.
One of the things that I asked our members was, “Now that you are over 60, what are the specific challenges that you face?”
So it was really telling, you know.
One member said you have to get past the mindset of,
‘Well, this is just how it is for me.’ Or ‘I’m too old to change.’
Another member had a really interesting thing to say about eating fat. She said that
“I had to understand that eating whole-fat instead of low-fat everything was much healthier and would help me to lose weight. Almost everything that I had learned over the years was turned upside down.”
That took reprogramming an entire lifetime of mindset.
It goes against everything that we were taught growing up and for most of our adult lives.
Keto Over 50: Conclusion
So there you go. Those are our five tips for a keto diet over 50.
I know it is a lot to wrap your head around. If you struggle with some of these concepts, please know that you are not alone.
We work with many people over the age of fifty, sixty, and even seventy and beyond. They are finding success.
It is never too late, and it is a wonderful thing.
About the Author:
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.