Health Advice



Seniors' diet quality tanks

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

For his role in the movie "Father Stu" (due out this month), Mark Wahlberg gained 30 pounds by eating 7,000 calories a day. His diet included a dozen eggs, steak, half a roasted chicken and a "nightcap" consisting of oatmeal, apple sauce, jam, almond butter and molasses.

While Wahlberg's slide into hyper-horrible nutrition was temporary -- he lost the weight as soon as filming was over -- for many Americans 65 and older, a slide into ever-lousier eating habits hasn't had a turnaround. A study published in JAMA Open Network reveals that between 2001 and 2018, the number of older U.S. adults with "poor diet quality" increased from 51% to 61%. Overall, folks were eating more saturated fat and fewer whole grains. As for folks with ideal diet quality? Only a shocking 0.4% of people ate well enough to fall into that category.

For older adults, eating more heart-stopping saturated fat and fewer fiber-rich foods is a ticket for chronic diseases, as well as loss of muscle mass and tone and increased risk of infection, cognition problems, dementia and poor wound healing.

There's a revolution in healthy aging happening that will let you have a RealAge of 40 at 90 (I lay it out in my upcoming book "The Great Age Reboot"). Nutrition plays a big part: So make sure you get enough lean non-red meat protein, plenty of vegetables and fruit, and whole grains. Also, talk to your doc about which supplements, like vitamin D and a multivitamin, might benefit you.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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