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Three Tufts University researchers have adjusted the US Dept. of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid to come up with a schematic that they say more accurately represents the dietary needs of older consumers.

Seniors have some specific nutrient needs not addressed in the "one size fits all" Food Guide Pyramid. 

Seniors have reduced energy intake needs of 1200 to 1600 calories per day.

 Each level of the pyramid emphasizes:

bullet"nutrient dense" food choices
bulletemphasizing whole grain foods
bulletvaried colored fruits and vegetables
bulletlow-fat dairy products
bulletlean meats, fish and poultry.

The pictures of the foods in the grains, fruits, and vegetable tiers of the pyramid highlight the importance of fiber.  Most Americans at any age, eat less than the 20 grams of daily fiber recommended by the American Dietetic Association.

The "70+" pyramid is built on a base of water. Adequate hydration is a chronic problem for many seniors. Decreased thirst sensation is common with aging, and some medications affect a body's ability to regulate fluid balance. Dehydration worsens symptoms of kidney dysfunction and constipation. To combat this problem seniors are advised to drink at least 8 glasses of fluids a day.

The flag icon that represents the possible need for dietary supplements. Both calcium and vitamin D absorption decrease with age which has adverse effects on bone health and increases the risk of fractures. The ability to absorb the vitamin B12 also decreases with age.  The need for dietary supplements an issue that should discuss with your doctor or dietitian.

The dietary recommendations of this pyramid are aimed at healthy, mobile seniors with the resources needed to prepare adequate meals. It is not designed to consider the special dietary needs of those with significant health problems, nor does it address socioeconomic factors, such as decreased income and mobility.  

The pyramid's main messages: people over age seventy have specific nutrient needs, and how well they meet those needs can affect overall health status.

Remember nutrition and dental health greatly affect each other.

Source: Tufts University

The Center For Research and Education On Aging

Nutrition and the Elderly-Resources

February 06, 2008

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
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