Since caloric needs for seniors change thanks to lower metabolisms and lower energy levels, dietary changes are necessary to maintaining good health. One of the common culprits of dietary success is sugar, which can be found in increasing quantities in nearly every pre-made drink, snack or meal.
Sugar is to be expected in desserts.
That’s the whole point of eating sweets. But sugar is also found in pre-baked bread, salad dressing, coffee creamer and more. This added sugar can be devastating to seniors because of the wasted calories and effect on blood sugar levels.
Added sugar goes by many names
- Brown sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt sugar
- Raw sugar
- Sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
What sugar affects
The sugar that occurs naturally in fruit doesn’t have the same effect on insulin levels if the fruit is eaten whole. Fruit juice makes it easier for the sugar to enter the bloodstream, which can trigger an insulin response. Sugar also causes an increase in belly fat thanks to insulin flooding the system with every bite. Seniors living with Type 2 diabetes have to watch the amount of sugar they eat. The same goes for elders who are overweight, have pancreas and liver issues and could be at risk for developing diabetes.
How to cut sugar
Once you’ve decided to cut sugar down with your senior, it can be difficult to find food, especially pre-made food, that doesn’t have sugar in it. Menu ideas like the one located here: Tasteofhome.com can help keep your senior full while the sugar cravings hit. As the microbes in the gut that feed on sugar go into withdrawal and die off, your senior will experience sugar cravings. These can be offset and good microbes can be encouraged by eating well.
Certain foods will make it even easier:
-Whole grain food: Staying full on complex carbohydrates like farro or brown rice means that your senior is less likely to be hungry later since these take longer to digest.
-Fermented food: What do sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and some types of cheese all have in common? They are fermented foods. Fermented foods are believed to help encourage the growth of beneficial microbes in the gut.
-Keep a food journal: In the initial days of the diet change, staying accountable while reducing sugar intake can smooth the process.
-Eat more vegetables: Vegetables, like whole grains, take longer to digest and pass through the system, meaning they fill you up more than a piece of cake would.
Additionally, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated can help make it easier to manage cravings. Too little sleep and the body craves sugar as a way to perk up quickly.
Most people don’t get addicted to sugar overnight, so changing habits can take time for seniors. But reducing the amount of sugar in their diets can improve their quality of life one day at a time.
A home care service provider can help you keep track of the amounts and types of sugar your senior is eating on a daily basis. Call a home care agency today.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a professional Senior Care in Pelham, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.