With each passing year, it seems like putting on weight becomes much easier. Unfortunately, you’re not imagining this. According to Banner Health, as you age, you experience a slower metabolism, along with a change in body composition and hormone levels. Your supply of lean muscle mass naturally declines, too, and you accumulate more fat mass. Tweaking your diet and fitness habits is imperative if you want to shed pounds, which is why Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., RDN, nutrition consultant, the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and The Portion Teller Plan, and a member of our Medical Expert Board, is here to share four foods preventing you from losing weight in your 40s.
Cut these foods from your diet ASAP if you haven’t already. And next, don’t miss The 5 Worst ‘Empty-Calorie’ Foods Making You Gain Weight Faster.
“Individuals over 40 years old start having a slower metabolism. It is crucial to be aware of the foods you consume and not to eat too many ultra-processed foods,” Young explains.
Foods that are highly processed can totally derail your weight loss efforts. Plus, they may be contributing factors to heart disease, spikes in blood sugar, and diabetes.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, ultra-processed foods include crackers, potato chips, instant meals, fast food, and more. Unfortunately, your favorite breakfast cereals are also heavily processed.
Rather than consuming items that have been heavily processed, stick to whole foods like veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, and fish, Young suggests.
You’ve likely heard fiber is a must if you’re looking to lose weight. So it makes perfect sense that low-fiber foods won’t do you any favors if you’re trying to melt fat in your 40s and beyond.
“High-fiber diets help individuals feel satiated and full for a longer period of time. Foods loaded with fiber normalize bowel movements, help control blood glucose levels, and lower cholesterol levels. This is essential for someone over 40 years of age trying to lose weight,” Young explains.
According to Mount Sinai, some examples of low-fiber foods include refined white bread, white pasta, dry cereals, farina, hard cheese, milk, creamy soup, raw lettuce, and cucumbers.
Processes meats are next up on the foods you should stay away from. They’re chock-full of saturated fat and should only be consumed in moderation (if that).
“Not only do processed meats contain over the daily recommendation of saturated fat, but they also can cause inflammation in the body which can lead to weight gain. Some healthier alternatives would be chicken breast or turkey (lean meats),” Young says.
Last but not least, this one’s not technically a “food,” but it certainly deserves a spot on this list. Fruit juices may come across as healthy, but they contain a lot of sugar.
“The worst part is that fruit juices go through processing that removes fiber. The absence of fiber and the presence of sugar can cause a major spike in blood sugar which can lead to weight gain,” Young explains.
Rather than sipping on fruit juice, choose fresh fruit instead! Other healthy alternatives include sparkling water or natural herbal iced teas.