17 January 2013
Eat what you want!
Scientists have discovered that after the age of 75, diet is unlikely to make a difference to your health.
In a study at Penn State University in Pennsylvania, scientists followed 449 pensioners, all aged around 76, for 5 years. Each participant was called five times during a 10-month period and asked about their diet over the past 24 hours. They were placed into three groups, ‘sweet
and dairy’ who ate lots of baked goods, milk and dairy desserts, ‘health conscious’ who favoured rice, fruit, poultry, fish and vegetables and ‘western’ who consumed more bread, fried food and alcohol.
The results showed that those who followed a high-fat or high-sugar diet were no more likely to suffer from conditions such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes than those following a healthy diet. However, those who have always followed a healthy diet should see some benefits.
Study author Gordon Jensen said, “The results suggest that if you live to be this old, then there may be little to support the use of overly restrictive dietary prescriptions, especially where food intake may already be inadequate. However, people who live on prudent diets all their lives are likely to have better health outcomes.”
Prof Jensen added, “The traditional ‘elderly person’ is less likely to be ‘tiny and frail’ and more likely to be overweight or obese. Recent reports suggest that there may be survival benefits associated with overweight and mild obesity status among the elderly.”