6 Drinking Habits To Speed Up Weight Loss As You Age, Say Dietitians
Weight loss is never easy. And as you get older, it becomes more difficult. In fact, a study from Nature Medicine found that lipid turnover rate decreases with age, meaning that your risk of abdominal obesity may increase. Another research study published in Nature revealed that older adults tend to burn energy from fat at a slower rate than younger adults. So, if you find yourself struggling to shed those stubborn pounds, you should take a look at your drink choices. In fact, there may be some drinking habits you can adopt for weight loss as you age.
“What you drink is super important if you are trying to lose weight as you age,” explains registered dietitian Jonathan Valdez, RDN, owner of Genki Nutrition and a spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Studies have shown that certain drinks like sugar-sweetened beverages can promote weight gain and should be avoided because of their liquid carbohydrate composition, which does not provide you with satiety, leading you to seek out extra calories at later meals.”
One drink in particular, though, has been shown to help you lose weight: water.
“Water, on the other hand, has been shown to be a smart choice to help lose weight,” says Valdez. “The findings of some randomized controlled trials show that replacing caloric beverages with water was most effective at achieving weight loss.”
But you don’t have to stick with just water to help kickstart your weight loss. There are many more words of advice from experts that can help you enjoy your favorite beverages while also meeting your weight loss goals. Here are six drinking habits that will help you speed up your weight loss as you age, according to registered dietitians.
“Strawberries can add natural sweetness and flavor to water while also adding fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants. And strawberries, both fresh and frozen, are one of the best sources of vitamin C,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, a registered dietitian and creator of the website BetterThanDieting.com.
“A serving of one cup of strawberries has more vitamin C (136 milligrams) than a cup of oranges (96 milligrams), which is all the vitamin C we need in a day! This vitamin helps to support collagen in skin and bones while the strawberries are helping to keep you feeling more satisfied than a simple glass of water.”
Vitamin C has been found to aid in weight loss efforts, as well. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, those who consume adequate levels of this vitamin burned up to 30% more fat during exercise than those who were vitamin C-deficient.
When it comes to aging, vitamin C also has the added benefit of aiding in cognitive health. One review from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that avoiding deficiency in this vitamin by eating a balanced diet could help slow down age-related cognitive decline.
“To help with weight loss, try limiting alcoholic beverages, which could add additional empty calories,” says Valdez. Aside from providing empty calories and sugar, alcohol may make weight loss more difficult in a few other ways.
Overall, the research on how much alcohol is required to interfere with weight loss is mixed. One review theorizes that when compared to heavy drinkers, moderate alcohol consumers most likely enjoy a “healthier lifestyle that may protect them from weight gain.”
Another possible factor in alcohol-related weight gain is the interruption of sleep. According to a study in Appetite, heavier alcohol consumption is linked to shorter sleep duration in adults, which has been linked to higher risk of weight gain.
If you’re a fan of tea, you may want to help yourself to a daily serving, as there may be some helpful weight loss and anti-aging benefits.
“You get the same water credit for drinking herbal tea, and whether it’s served hot or cold, it’s a delicious way to get fluids in your diet,” says Taub-Dix. “I often cut an apple or pear and add it to my mug of tea before I pour hot water over it. This way, after my last sip, I have a baked fruit to munch on. This natural sweetness helps to finish off a meal.”
Those who love sipping on green tea will be happy to know that this beverage is specifically linked to both weight loss and slower aging. Green tea contains high levels of a catechin called EGCG. According to Biomolecules, EGCG has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective abilities that may help fight against age-related cognitive decline. Not only that, but EGCG has also been found to help boost fat burning, according to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
“One study showed that a high-protein total diet replacement (35 % carbohydrate, 40% protein, 25% fat) can support fat loss by increasing energy expenditure and fat oxidation,” says Valdez.
Although this can certainly help you with your weight loss goals, many of us know just how hard it can be to meet your protein requirements when you’re living a busy life and needing to eat certain meals on the go. In order to get enough protein in your daily routine, try a protein shake or throwing your favorite protein powder in a smoothie.
“Fruits and veggies are packed with fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants, and best of all, they are low in calories,” says Valdez. “However, if you juice your produce, it can remove the fiber, which is what helps with satiety.” In fact, getting enough fiber has been associated with overall weight loss and management, according to the Journal of Nutrition.
“Unfortunately, the CDC says that only one out of 10 adults are eating enough fruits and vegetables,” says Valdez. “In order to see if you’re getting enough produce, ask yourself if half of your plate is full of fruits and vegetables?”
If you’re wanting to lose weight as you age, pour yourself a glass of low-fat milk. A 2019 study published in the journal Nutrients found that participants who increased their intake of low-fat dairy foods to 4–5 servings per day reported more weight loss than those who did not.
Another bonus: A 2020 Brigham Young University study found that people who drank non-fat and low-fat milk reported less biological aging, specifically around 4.5 years, compared to those who drank higher-fat milks including 2% and whole milk. So, if you’re a milk drinker, don’t hesitate to pour yourself a glass or add some to a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal as a snack.
A previous version of this story was published on March 23, 2022. It has been updated to include additional copy and proofreading revisions, additional research, and updated contextual links.