Get to 75 and you can eat what you like: Poor diet makes no difference to your health
If you live to 75, your diet is unlikely to make much difference to your health afterwards, say expertsCompared elderly people who followed high-fat, high-sugar or healthy diet
17:35 GMT, 17 January 2013
08:22 GMT, 18 January 2013
Many of us spend decades trying to overcome our food demons by avoiding fast food restaurants and resisting the dessert tray.
But you may as well call a ceasefire in the battle of the bulge when you hit 75, say scientists from Penn State from Pennsylvania, as a diet is unlikely to make much difference after this.
Researchers found elderly people 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.
Over 75 Diets make little difference once you reach this age
They followed 449 pensioners for five years, who were around 76 years old at the start of the study.
They called each five times during a 10-month period and asked them about their diet over the previous 24 hours.
The authors then placed them in three broad dietary groups. The 'sweet and dairy' pattern included those who got the most energy from baked goods, milk and dairy-desserts. The 'health conscious pattern' included higher intakes of rice, whole fruit, poultry, fish and vegetables. The 'western pattern' included higher intakes of bread, fried foods and alcohol.
Using outpatient electronic medical
records, the researchers identified whether the participants developed
cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood
pressure and metabolic syndrome during the five-year period.
the participants were no more likely to suffer from these conditions
whether they followed the 'sweets and dairy', 'western' or 'health
Those who have always followed a healthy diet should see the benefits
The one link they found was a slightly higher risk of hypertension among 'sweets and dairy' followers.
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.'
The research, published in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging is one of the first studies to examine the health effects of poor diets on the elderly.
Prof Jensen added that the traditional 'elderly person' was less likely to be 'tiny and frail' and more likely to be overweight or obese.
He said: 'Recent reports suggest that there may be survival
benefits associated with overweight and mild obesity status among the