There have been plenty of discussions about high protein and low carb diets and why seniors should avoid it. There are some who are all for it, but at the same time, many people are beginning to realize that it’s not for them. These diets have several names that you are probably familiar with.
The Atkins Diet, Paleo Diet, and Keto Diet. They all operate on the same premise. Eat plenty of fat and protein, but avoid carbohydrates like the plague.
There are several reasons why these diets are difficult to maintain for most people.
HIGH PROTEIN DIETS ARE HARD TO SUSTAIN
Once you take carbohydrates out of your diet equation, you limit your food choices substantially. Take the Keto Diet for instance. The key to reaching a state of Ketosis is to eat a diet that is very high in fat and protein and pretty much devoid of carbohydrates.
I tried it for myself because I have always felt that if you experience something for yourself you are more able to write about it with some authority from experience. And as they say, the experience is the best teacher.
What I discovered is that I could only eat so much fat before it began grossing me out. I never thought I would get tired of eating bacon, eggs, and steak, but I did.
I really missed my mashed potatoes, oatmeal for breakfast, and my own recipe for basmati brown fried rice.
DIFFICULT TO PLAN MEALS
It’s really difficult to plan your meals every day is such a way that there is some sort of variety.
I suppose it’s not difficult if you don’t mind eating the same thing day after day, but most people don’t want to do that. Your biggest choice is to decide what cut of meat you want to have for dinner because all meat is fair game on the Atkins, Paleo and Keto Diets.
You have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen to make these diets work. There is a process of these diets and it can be very rigid. Wander away from the Keto Diet and sneak in just one bowl of strawberry ice cream and the whole ketosis process will lay in ruins.
So when you prepare meals, you have to give it a lot of thought. It’s so much easier if you can eat complex carbohydrates. Cook up some pasta and heat up some pasta sauce and 15 minutes later you’re sitting down to dinner.
What a waste of a good roast if you can’t make gravy to put on your mashed potatoes.
HIGH PROTEIN DIETS CAN BE EXPENSIVE
The expense of high protein diets can be prohibitive these days with the high cost of pretty much every type of meat.
Even bacon is difficult to afford with the prices averaging out to about $6 a package. Then of course beef has been out of reach for many consumers for years. People but it as a treat and not something they can eat day after day.
It’s even doubly hard for seniors who are often on a tight budget. These diets just make no sense for seniors. Besides the price, it’s hard to imagine seniors on a diet full of avocados, fatty meat, butter, and lard.
For the average cost of one roast beef, you could probably buy a bag of brown rice, enough pasta for a dozen meals, a five-pound bag of oatmeal and 20 pounds of potatoes. So what makes more sense budget-wise?
NO CARBOHYDRATES, NO ENERGY
Yes, yes I know, when you get to the ketosis stage on the Keto Diet you will generate some sort of energy. However, many people never get that far. As they spend the required amount of weeks on the low carb diet they are practically running on empty.
After all, it’s complex carbohydrates that are converted to glycogen and basically, glycogen is the fuel that keeps you going. So long before you ever reach the state of Ketosis, you will most likely feel like crap.
I’m not saying the Keto, Paleo, or Atkins Diets won’t eventually work.
What I’m saying is, most people will never stay on the diet long enough to find out.
WHY THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET IS BEST
There are five Blue Zones in the world where people often live to be 100 years old or more and still maintain a high quality of life.
In 2018 Magazine writers were on a mission to pick the top 20 diets. The Keto Diet was 20th. The main reason they said, was because it wasn’t a sustainable diet.
The Mediterranean Diet was number one. People living in the Blue Zones eat a diet that is pretty much the Mediterranean style. They limit their meat consumption and avoid processed food.
They eat a couple of eggs a week and when they do eat meat, it’s just two ounces or so as a side dish. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is their oil of choice. Fish, fresh fruits and vegetables and beans of all sorts are staples of the Mediterranean Diet.
Actually, so is red wine. A few glasses of red wine per day has been proven to have many health benefits.
It’s also a very easy diet to stay on because there are so many possible food choices when you don’t eliminate carbohydrates from your diet.
Every few years there’s a new fad diet popping up. It’s like the flavor of the month. People give them a try to discover they are just too difficult to maintain, too expensive, or lack variety.
When you leave so many foods out of your diet it’s very likely that you are missing out on essential vitamins and minerals. People who adopt a Mediterranean style diet must be doing something right because they don’t often deal with obesity, diabetes, or heart disease.
It’s all been documented over and over again. North Americans are not particularly healthy and much of the reason comes down to diet.
Seniors should try to find a happy medium. Choose a diet that’s affordable, varied, and healthy. When you’re eating a wide variety of foods it’s far easier to plan meals and to cook. It’s also far healthier.
Life can be difficult at times, so eating food you truly enjoy should be the goal. Eat a well-balanced meal and exercise on a regular basis and you will have the same chance at living a long, healthy life as people living in the Blue Zones of the world.
Would you like to share your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.