Originally Posted by Benay
Isn't that the truth!
The older I get, the more sweet tastes good and protein tastes blah.
No wonder we see so many obese elderly if they follow their taste buds.
To be fair, there are multiple reasons as to why older people seek out food-stuffs that make them more likely to gain weight:
* Shrinking/atrophy of taste buds. Over time the body regenerates fewer taste buds, which themselves are less effective than the ones that came before them. When it's harder to taste certain foods, a person is more likely to go with whatever is pleasant to their diminishing palate.
* Texture of foods. Loss of teeth, dentures, weakening of jaw muscles etc all make certain foods off limits to older people. If it hurts to eat something, it's highly unlikely that you'll want to put yourself through the hassle of trying.
Digestive problems. Weakening of stomach acid, thinning of stomach wall, increased likelihood of acid reflux etc, all make certain foods an uncomfortable eating experience.
* Loss of appetite. Protein is very filling. Carbohydrates not so much (hence why we've all eaten our way to being overweight/obese ourselves). A more sedentary lifestyle, combined with a natural slowing down of one's metabolism also means less fuel is needed in the first place.
* Financial restrictions. People living on a pension don't have the same purchasing power as someone on an occupational income. The cheapest foodstuffs are rarely the healthiest, especially when said individuals can only get out once a week/fortnight to stock up, making fresh foodstuffs harder to keep in the house.
* Convenience. No longer having to cook for anyone else disincentivizes individuals to want to go to the effort of cooking food from scratch. When it's only themselves they need to feed, it's a lot easier to grab something quick, ready-made, processed etc. Something that itself is exacerbated by the restriction in physical activity many older people suffer from. It can take a lot of effort and energy to get up and down and hover over a stove as your joints seize up and you tire easily.
That's not to say that your point wasn't valid; it's just a much smaller part of a way bigger picture regarding how older people's lifestyles change so much over time that their eating habits become a multifaceted issue - as they are for many of us.
What's really unfortunate is that when you take someone who is in their 80's/90's and look back through the decades they have lived through, they have been the food industry's guinea pigs when it comes to what is now considered 'accepted knowledge' regarding food. These individuals (I'm talking over here in the UK) were born into rationing. A time when consumption was limited and adherence to the food pyramid style of 'nutrition' didn't cause mass obesity. These individuals were far more active; far less sedentary. Convenience foods only really began to take off in the 50's/60's and even then, there wasn't the constant bombardment with advertisements for snack foods and sugary foodstuffs.
They have lived through the time of the sugar companies lobbying to get the government on side with regards to carbohydrate consumption. As their lives modernised and their need to expend calories decreased, they were also being told that fat was bad, too much dietary cholesterol was bad and too much meat was unhealthy. They have literally lived their lives with their diets being at the whim of those who wanted to control the farming economies on both sides of the pond. Where having something like HFCS introduced into everything was a political move, rather than a consumer health move.
Born into an era when meat, potatoes and veg was perfectly acceptable, they now exist in a time so far removed from back then, that it's no surprise that their metabolisms are insanely wrecked. Those old people in their 80's/90's who are incredibly overweight get looked at as though they are simply people who don't care. Who just let themselves go. When in reality, they are a living example of what happens to a person when you completely change up their way of life and then hold their metabolism hostage to whatever whims the food industry has peddled over the years.
Science has helped to cure a multitude of diseases and developed treatment for many types of cancers. These people who - like their parents - probably expected to live until they were 60/70 max, have been given the gift of longevity, along with the added bitter pill of other health issues to deal with in their later years. It's actually kind of heartbreaking when you think about it.