Back in the late 1960s, research revealed that eating a high-fat diet was detrimental to heart health. However, we now know that this research study was flawed. There are multiple dietary factors that influence heart health, and knowing about them can help seniors and their caregivers create meals according to the latest scientific understanding of how sugar and fat contribute to heart disease.
If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elder home care, Columbus Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
Separating Fact from Fiction
In 2016 more information was revealed about a 1967 study that showed fat was worse than sugar for heart disease. Interestingly, the study was funded by the Sugar Association, which downplayed the dangers of eating too much sugar. One of the researchers who participated in the study went on to become the head of nutrition for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is how the belief that fat is worse than sugar became so pervasive in our society.
Recognizing How Sugar Affects the Heart
Sugar may seem like the good guy because it tastes so good. Yet, those sweet snacks can eventually catch up with seniors when they contribute to weight gain and high blood sugar levels that can take their toll on the heart. Obesity caused by sugar can also increase a senior’s bad cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which can further increase the stress placed upon the cardiovascular system.
Understanding Why Fat Is Still Not Healthy
Fat is still not healthy. Seniors should still avoid foods that contain saturated fats like dairy products and fried foods. The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 13 grams of saturated fat a day. Seniors who eat their maximum amount of saturated fat can control consumption by skipping baked goods like cakes and cookies. Swapping saturated fats for healthier fats can help reduce overall fat intake.
Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing a serious illness and require more extensive live-in home care. Columbus seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve. Often, this includes assistance with grocery shopping and preparing nutritious meals.
Learning the Methods and Benefits of Moderation
Abstaining from fat and sugar completely is not practical, and may create feelings of deprivation that worsen cravings. Seniors should work with their caregivers to create meal plans that fall within the nutritional guidelines yet still offer a sweet or fatty treat now and then. Moderation can take the form of smaller portion sizes such as eating half a slice of cake or avoiding fatty foods except on special occasions. Either way, reducing sugar and fat consumption as much as possible can result in better heart health.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging when living with a cognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s disease. Columbus, OH, Alzheimer’s care professionals are available 24/7 to help seniors manage daily tasks like bathing, grooming, exercise, and medication reminders. At Home Care Assistance, we believe seniors with Alzheimer’s can live safely and comfortably at home with the help of compassionate and expertly trained caregivers. Call one of our qualified Care Managers at (614) 481-8888 to learn more about our services and how they can benefit your loved one.