Nutrition

Never before has nutrition been so complicated. Since the early 1900s, the U.S. government has issued food guidelines for Americans, an evolving series that’s been updated periodically and gained traction with the creation of the Food Pyramid in 1992. In 2005, the Food Pyramid changed to promote physical activity and whole grains, rather than processed flours, and the pyramid was abandoned in 2011 in favor of MyPlate, the USDA’s current nutritional guide.

While eating more whole grains seems simple enough, the food in markets has also changed significantly throughout our lifetimes. Sugar is a common ingredient in many processed foods. Hidden in places where you’d least expect it — crackers, salsa, salad dressings, etc. — avoiding sugar (and its main substitute: corn syrup) is not easy. Some fats are good; others are bad. How is a “single serving” measured? Is there a simple formula to follow?

One trick to shopping for a healthy diet is to stick to the outskirts of American supermarkets. Produce and refrigerated cases surround the interior shelves of more processed foods, but there are worthy edibles within the depths of those aisles. Fitness Beyond 50: Turn Back the Clock charts a course through shopping and a healthy diet, addressing cholesterol, fats, eating habits, portions, fiber, salt, sugar, whole grains, snacking, supplements, vitamins and more.

Leading a long, active, healthy life is accomplished through a combination of eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Amazingly, over seventy percent of our health problems — such as type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even dementia — can be prevented, not delayed, by interlacing exercise with a conscious, healthy diet.