9 Foods to Avoid After 50 & Why

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Congratulations on your golden years! Chow down that birthday cake while you can. From now on, there are foods you may have to avoid.

Nutrition has a hand in heart health, weight gain, and inflammation, all of which older adults must have under control. Continue reading to find out what not to eat and what foods you and your body can enjoy.

RELATED: 13 Anti Aging Foods To Add To Your Diet Now

Foods to Avoid and Enjoy in Your 50s

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Sugary Beverages

1. Frappuccino and Lattes

ice cream in glass beside maroon petaled flower on vase on table | what not to eat


You can still enjoy your morning cup of joe but take it black and without sugar. Your favorite sweet coffee contains heaps of sugar, which may lead to morbid obesity and weight gain. Sugar may be the leading cause of long-term weight gain versus other foods.

It's no secret that honey is rich in antioxidants. However, although antioxidant-rich, it is molecularly similar to cane sugar (half glucose, half fructose), so this doesn't seem to be a fitting alternative. Even scientists cannot say if it is an acceptable alternative sweetener for people living with diabetes.

If you prefer a sugary cup, add alternative sweeteners or stevia, which is naturally low in calories.

  • sucralose
  • saccharin
  • aspartame

You can find these in most grocery stores and are a suitable replacement for refined table sugar. Coffee, caffeine or decaffeinated, could lower your risk for diabetes. Both coffee and tea may help prevent heart disease and still give you your morning dose of energy.

If a morning cup of joe is a must-have in your morning routine, have it black. In the case of tea, have it green.

2. Soda

beer bubble celebration cocktail | foods to avoid

Refreshing and fizzy as it is, it is full of fattening and pro-inflammatory sugar.


Sugar is also associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which increases your chances of a heart attack. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of at least three risk factors:

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood sugar (glucose)
  • low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
  • high levels of triglycerides
  • an apple-shaped body or large waist

If you're looking for something as satisfying as soda, go with a diet variant or seltzer. You may also find soda sweetened with stevia in your local health stores.

3. Fruit Juices

lime juice and fruit shake on glass | what not to eat

It's widely accepted that fruits are healthy, but science says not when it's in juice form.

Before they make it to your glass, they are loaded with sugar to make them even sweeter.

However, it doesn't mean that you can't have a fruit drink with your meal. A healthy smoothie may still retain all the phytonutrients and dietary fibers you can find in fruits without the added sugar. You can add a splash of milk to add a sweeter flavor and thicker texture.

Refined Grains

4. White Bread

plate of sliced breads | foods to avoid

It seems like your morning bread will need a new partner.

Not all carbohydrates are bad. A healthy source of carbs has:

  • high dietary fiber content
  • has a healthy glycemic load (sugar)
  • whole-grain content

Because refined grains (such as white bread) may cause inflammation, they may be bad for those at risk for diabetes and heart attack.

Whole-grain bread is a hearty, healthful alternative associated with a lower risk of diabetes and heart attack.

Wheat bran is rich in:

Wheat germ is a rich source of:

  • fatty acids
  • antioxidants
  • phytochemicals

5. Instant Oatmeal, Breakfast Cereal

food wood dawn photography | what not to eat

Much like in white bread, choose a type of wheat that's less processed. A fine example would be steel-cut oats. Steer clear of wheat products that are stamped with the labels “finely milled.” They have a higher glycemic index – a risk factor for heart disease. It is rich in fiber and more filling.

Have a bowl of steel-cut oats topped with strawberries, blueberries, and milk to start your day. This breakfast food is rich in minerals, fiber, and antioxidants – a great way to start your day.

RELATED: 10 Best Diets For Men (and How to Choose One)

6. Pastries

selective photo of cookies on container | foods to avoid

It looks like you may have to limit the cake to the birthday sort.

Store-bought pastries contain refined grains and sugar. You can use this as an opportunity to start baking using only healthy ingredients.

Replace refined sugar with stevia and refined grains with whole-wheat or bran varieties. You may even add nuts to give them a boost of omega-3 fatty acids.

Processed Meats

7. Delicatessen Meats, Sausages, Hotdogs

various choice of meat sausages and pork fat on sideboard | what not to eat

Instant food is a hit for everyone of all ages. The phrases “5-minute meals” and “just add water” are tempting and understandably make your life easier – but not in your later years.

Processed meats like ham, sausage, and hotdogs contain sodium or other additives. These preservatives may increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

Processed meats and unprocessed fats have identical portions of cholesterol, saturated fats, and total fats. However, it may be the nitrite and sodium content that make processed meats more dangerous than unprocessed ones.

One study found that processed meats have around 400% more sodium.

Keep in mind – the more it's processed, the more dangerous it could be.

8. Red Meats/Unprocessed Meats

sliced meat on brown wooden round plate | foods to avoid

Great news! You can still have your steak and eat it too! You may still schedule a steak night with your family and friends, but limit it to once weekly or on special occasions.

Unprocessed meats may have a lesser effect on diabetes risk and have minimal or no influence on your risk for heart disease. Still, the food does not offer any health benefits, and there are better (and arguably more delicious!) sources of protein.

Grill, steam, or roast a chicken, and it will taste delicious no matter how you prepare it! Consuming high quantities of poultry is not associated with a higher risk for heart attack or stroke.

Prepare a hearty grilled chicken and pesto sandwich served on whole grain bread. Serve it with a bit of salad and nuts on the side to add color to your plate. It will also give your meal a variety in texture, 100% guaranteed to satisfy your cravings!

Growing evidence suggests that one egg a day may keep the doctor away, but not more than an apple. Poultry may be better alternatives to red meat and bad carbs, but fruits, nuts, legumes, and fish are still your best bets for better health.

Alcoholic Beverages

9. Alcohol

2 person holding wine glasses | what not to eat

Habitual heavy drinkers may face a higher risk for heart attack and long-term weight gain. But some studies show that moderate drinking could lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease. So how do we tread the balance, and should we take a glass of wine every night?

The American Heart Association (AHA) gives us the final verdict.

You may drink alcohol in moderation if you enjoy it, but not for its supposed health benefits. If you are fond of its flavor, take it directly from its source – grapes. The AHA also had something to say about the purple fruit – eat them.

Here’s an infographic guide. Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy infographic for reference:

Foods to Avoid After 50 edit 3

When in doubt – everything in moderation. Enjoy a wide variety of healthful food and keep your plates colorful (and portion-controlled). Beginning in your 50s, focus on the quality of your food, and I don't mean the taste.

Now that we covered what to eat and what not to eat, I hope this gives you a better picture of the best meals for after your 50th birthday. Healthy and nutritious food are equally healthy – if not more – delicious!

Follow this quick guide, and you may find yourself healthier in your 60s. And in your 70s, you may have your cake and eat it too.

Check out this heart-healthy diet for more ideas on how to eat in your 50s:

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