Diet and NutritionMaintain a healthy diet during retirement
Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet
We get so much of our information online today. I say information, but some stuff that passes as information can be just somebodies’ quirky opinion juiced up with scientific sounding language. There are thousands of medical websites. More thousands dealing with nutrition, diet, dietary supplements, exercise, and a host of other health-related topics. Some sites provide reliable health information. Some do not. Even in the best of circumstances mistakes, flaws in the data or in a study, and misinterpretation of findings do occur. This is all part of the normal process of improving our knowledge and understanding of very complex issues. But some sites contain outright false information or unfounded claims. Misinformation can taint your decisions regarding your retirement health. Figuring out which websites provide reliable guidance on retirement health as well as financial matters is especially important. As with most things the final decisions are yours. Do your due diligence for retirement related decisions of consequence. What I am trying to do here is provide a few links that I believe offer solid information that you can use to assess your own needs and to formulate your own healthy retirement action plan.
The NIH National Institute on Aging offers retirees seeking reliable health information basic criteria for assessing trustworthiness of online health information and some specific websites as starting points.
University of Maryland medical reference guide on heart healthy diets provides general guidelines and recommendations, nutrition basics, and even lifestyle changes for achieving and maintaining good health during your retirement.
It always helps to have a balanced view. I have not eaten red meat for twenty years. But sometimes ideas become popularized but are not fully understood. “Red Meat is not the enemy” provides a more nuanced view of health impacts of red meat.
Youtube offers useful and even entertaining health and diet information. “Gluten free” has become a currently popular nutritional theme. Do we know what gluten is and if it truly is detrimental? Take a look.
If you take dietary supplements do you know what is in them? Do you know if they are good for you? Over half of American adults take dietary supplements. The percentage is probably higher for those of retirement age. Recent reports from the New York Times about herbal supplements in particular, cast serious doubts about the actual ingredients widely sold by retailers. Furthermore, there is virtually no regulation of dietary supplements and no testing is required to bring them to market. So how do you know if they actually help you?
Dean Ornish, who is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco recently wrote an opinion article in the New York Times titled “The Myth of High-Protein Diets“. Ornish says: “Research shows that animal protein may significantly increase the risk of premature mortality from all causes, among them cardiovascular disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Heavy consumption of saturated fat and trans fats may double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.”
In February, the USDA issued the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. As reported in the Washington Post provides recommendations for improving the government’s official nutritional advice. The Post quotes the executive summary: A “healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat, and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.”
One key goal of the federal 2015 Nutritional Advisory Committee was “…examining where sufficient new scientific evidence is likely to be available that may inform revisions to the current guidance or suggest new guidance.” The report is 571 pages and contains a great deal of data.
The Washington Post (February 10, 2015) says: “The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption.”