Keto for Seniors? Yes!
In 2020, Culinary News shared that keto was the most globally searched diet on Google. With over 80 years of positive evidence touting its benefits, keto’s popularity was recently revived thanks to social media. However, while most keto proponents are younger or fitter individuals, seniors are just as suited to this diet.
In fact, since keto targets many age-related conditions, seniors may find that this is the diet for them.
Keto Benefits for Older Adults
- Can help manage diabetes
As of 2021, over 14 million seniors in the U.S. have diabetes, so they need to watch their diet to avoid blood sugar fluctuations. Given this, many diabetics turn to the keto diet. As previously discussed here by Akiva Reskinoff, scientific evidence shows that diabetics on keto can lower their blood sugar levels within just a few days of following the diet. On top of this, studies indicate that staying on keto for an extended period of time can result in diabetics needing less medication.
- Improves energy levels
Fatigue is often incorrectly attributed as a normal part of aging. However, as the National Institute on Aging states regarding seniors, fatigue is often a by-product of disease or lifestyle. With a keto diet, though, seniors can benefit from an increase in ketones and more consistent blood sugar levels, which can drastically stabilize daily energy levels.
- Aids in maintaining the optimal weight
The importance of maintaining a healthy weight is paramount, especially as we age. In fact, while 40% of overweight seniors in the U.S. are more susceptible to chronic illness, the AARP explains that becoming underweight increases the risk of frailty and muscle loss. With a keto diet, though, the body enters a metabolic state of “ketosis”, which aids in burning the right fats to manage weight. Plus, since the keto diet eliminates “empty” calories from excess carbs, food consumed is filling and nutritious. This makes it easier for seniors to satisfy their daily caloric needs.
Easy Tips for Seniors Transitioning to Keto
While research has shown that keto is mainly safe and beneficial for seniors, it's still necessary to consider an older adult’s more sensitive constitution. So, here are some tips to make the transition easier and more sustainable.
- Consult a healthcare professional
Because keto involves “recalibrating” your body’s fat-burning and energy-producing systems, it may initially cause the “keto flu”. Although temporary, this period may be uncomfortable for older adults with chronic conditions. Hence, before embarking on keto, it’s best to get a doctor’s approval. Furthermore, since keto does restrict certain foods while encouraging larger quantities of others, seniors with specific restrictions may need professional help. In these cases, KelseyCare Advantage highlights that seniors can obtain information from licensed nutritionists as this professional guidance is included in their Medicare plans. These healthcare professionals can help tailor a keto diet for seniors. And since they're specially trained in geriatric care, they can create a keto approach with senior needs in mind.
- Find keto alternatives of your favorite snacks
For some, the most difficult part of adopting a new diet is letting go of certain foods. For keto, this could mean most baked goods, pasta, rice, and other sweet treats. However, completely cutting out these foods isn’t particularly sustainable at the very beginning. Over time, this can result in giving up the diet completely. To avoid this, make the diet more sustainable with the help of keto alternatives. For instance, at the Cookie Department, we’ve developed several keto cookies that satisfy cravings without breaking ketosis. If you’re worried about feeling deprived on keto, try to stock your pantry with a few of these delicious and satisfying options.
- Take it slowly with consistency
As with anything, transitioning to keto takes some time. Your body and mind will be used to your old diet, after all. Thus, rather than going cold turkey, seniors may find a slow and steady transition more manageable. If need be, try going keto a few days a week first. By taking a steady pace, seniors have a higher chance of adapting to keto smoothly with less risk of contraindications. Moreover, it makes it easier to get into the habit of eating keto-based foods.
Switching to a new diet may seem daunting at first. But with the right research and proper preparation, seniors can smoothly adapt to a ketogenic diet with benefits that can improve their holistic health.