Many attribute pain and sickness to old age, but getting older does not mean getting sicker—at least, it doesn’t have to. Not only will we explore the connection between aging and health, this article will take a look at how diet and lifestyle play a big part in continuing to a live a long and healthy life. Whether you have a loved one in your life that is age 65+, or if you fall within that age category, let’s take a look at how ketosis for seniors can help everyone enjoy the golden years.
Senior Health and Ketosis
Part of aging does involve a degree of decline in how we can function, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating and isolating. This is, unfortunately, a sad reality for many seniors and elders in our society. The high-carb, processed diet often prescribed for people of this age group is not helping, either.
Rather than seeing getting older as unfortunate, we can support healthier mental and physical health at any age through a more proper diet. And the truth is: there are many advantages of following a ketogenic diet for senior adults.
Benefits of Following a Ketogenic Diet
Here are some of the ways being in ketosis and eating healthy ketogenic foods can address concerns often faced by seniors today:
Insulin resistance: Many senior citizens in our society are overweight and dealing with insulin-related conditions like diabetes. This is serious, as diabetes can lead to things like vision loss, kidney disease, and more.
Bone health: Osteoporosis, in which reduced bone density causes bones to become fragile and brittle, is one of the most common conditions seen in older men and women. More calcium through daily intake of milk products, as the USDA recommends, obviously isn’t the answer. This is because the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis tend to have the highest rates of dairy consumption. What’s far better is to focus on a keto diet low in toxins, which interfere with absorption, and is rich in all micronutrients rather than overloaded on a specific macronutrient (calcium).
Inflammation: For many people, aging includes more pain from injuries that happened at a younger age or joint issues like arthritis. Being in ketosis can help reduce the production of substances called cytokines that promote inflammation, which can help with these types of conditions.
Nutrient deficiencies: Older adults tend to have higher deficiencies in important nutrients like:
- Iron: deficiency can lead to brain fog and fatigue
- Vitamin B12: deficiency can lead to neurological conditions like dementia
- Fats: deficiency can lead to problems with cognition, skin, vision, and vitamin deficiencies
- Vitamin D: deficiency cause cognitive impairment in older adults, increase the risk of heart disease, and even contribute to cancer risk
The high-quality sources of animal protein on the ketogenic diet can easily account for excellent sources of these important nutrients.
Controlling Blood Sugar
As we’ve discussed, there is a connection between poor blood sugar and brain-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease. Some factors that might contribute to Alzheimer’s disease include [*]:
- An excess intake of carbohydrates, especially from fructose—which is drastically reduced in the ketogenic diet
- A lack of dietary fats and cholesterol—which are abundant and healthy on the ketogenic diet
- Oxidative stress, which being in ketosis protects against [*]
Using a ketogenic diet to help control blood sugar and improve nutrition may help not only improve insulin response but also protect against memory problems that often come about with age.
Importance of Keto for Aging
Keto foods deliver a high amount of nutrition per calorie. This is important because basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories needed daily to survive) is less for seniors, but they still need the same amount of nutrients as younger people.
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A person age 65+ will have a much harder time living on junk foods than a teen or 20-something whose body is still resilient. This makes it even more crucial for seniors to eat foods that are health-supporting and disease-fighting. It can literally mean the difference between enjoying the golden years to the fullest or spending them in pain and agony.
Therefore, seniors need to eat a more optimal diet by avoiding “empty calories” from sugars or foods rich in anti-nutrients, such as whole grains, and increasing their amount of nutrient-rich fats and proteins.
In addition, much of the food chosen by older people (or given in hospital or clinical settings) tends to be heavily processed and very poor in nutrients, such as white breads, pastas, prunes, mashed potatoes, puddings, etc.
It’s pretty clear that the high-carb diet so widely pushed by the government is not best for supporting our senior citizens and their long-term health. A diet low in carbohydrates and rich in animal and plant fats is far better for promoting better insulin sensitivity, less instances of cognitive decline, and overall better health.
In a Keto Talk podcast with Jimmy Moore, Dr. Adam Nally talks about how he has many elderly patients doing very well on a keto diet. Based on the information discussed above, this makes a lot of sense.
Ketosis for Longevity
No matter our age, it’s never a bad idea to improve your chances of feeling and functioning well for the rest of your life. It’s never too late to start doing better, even though the sooner we start, the better our chances of avoiding disease. Even for those who have spent many years not treating their bodies as well as they should, ketosis for seniors has potential to repair some of the damage.
That being said, as we talk about in our ketosis for longevity article, the earlier we can begin making changes that support healthy weight, blood sugar, immunity, and more, the greater chance of having less pain and suffering later in life.
Take Home Message
Bottom line, we’re all getting older and death is, of course, inevitable. But what we CAN control to a degree is the quality of life along the way. People are now living longer, but we’re also getting sicker by following the standard diet of the majority. The ketogenic diet can help seniors improve their health, so they can actually thrive, rather than be sick or in pain during the later years of life.
37 thoughts on “Ketosis for Seniors”
thank you for this information it has been very helpful also. can you go back and fourth between a low carb diet and a high protect in diet and how much time should you give inbetween
thankyou it was very helpful
Been on keto for 3 months and now have issues w eggs and some dairy, gut issues (taking enzymes and probiotics now) and only lost 12 lbs, in 2 weeks when I did intermittent fasting and bulletproof coffee but stalled again for past two months and not sure what to do. I’m 60 and cannot get the calories nor protein in so I’m at about 800 calories a day w two meals. I’m ramping up frequency of exercise but not sure WHAT ELSE TO DO? Is my metabolism that slow due to age and a few traumas ( such as spinal surgeries?) The macros set by these programs seem unrealistic when for the first time in my.life I don’t want food! Help.
Hi Lisa, it is very common to hit a stall after such a drastic drop in weight and there could be many different reasons for this – increased stress, not enough calories, lack of sleep, etc. You may need to address these one at a time and see how your body responds.
The military taught me that 3 hours of sleep with one or two 20 minutes naps have kept me going from 18 years old to now 67 years old. I have been watching what I eat for the last twenty years and kept my 22 years old weight. 2 years ago, I lost my retirement, and that stress has put on 25 pounds I cannot take off. I am on full KETO regimen for the last two years and nothing has gone down. I take supplements, 2x Alacer Emergen C, 10 000 D3, 200 mg Ubiquinol, 2 ounces of Kefir to swallow the pills down, 2 ounces of Whole milk Greek yogurt with 2 ounces of Blueberries, and 16 ounces of Bulletproof coffee, with 1 Tbsp of Kerry butter and 1 1/2 Tbsp of ultra pure coconut oil. For breakfast. lunch is 2 ounces of grass-fed beef with 2 ounces of spinach and 2 ounces of multi color peppers with one teaspoon of coconut oil and two ounces of shredded cheese to top it all. Turmeric, cumin and basil, with fresh ground pepper for taste. At night, 5 thin slices of ham, 2 big slices of swiss cheese as bun, a fresh salad of spinach.
My only sin is my chocolate, or my macaroons. 2 ounces of chocolate, ( darkest unsweetened, and 2 macaroons only).
I’m 78 years old male. Lost 35 lbs on keto in 5 months while basically sedentary. Now 179 lbs, same as age 21. Still on it for 4 more months and maintaining. Supplemented with acacia fiber, magnesium, Vitamins D, B Complex, probiotics and alpha lipoic acid per Drs. Perlmutter, William Davis and Mercola. Lipids now all normal. I sleep better and deeper, joint pains gone, have much more energy and mental focus. Eat frozen berries for my daily carbs, along with salad and green veggies (brussels and broccoli). I use olive oil instead of coconut oil to maintain fat macro. I feed sugar jones with sugar free jello and small amounts of sugar free dark chocolate. Waist went from 41 to 35, no more belly fat. The list of plusses goes on.
Michael, wow that is awesome!! Thank you for sharing with us 🙂
I want to try it..
Ketogenic diet is the best thing that I have ever done. I started at 71 years old, have lost 55lbs (without exercise, just some walking), off stomach and cholesterol meds, and feel great. It’s rather expensive to change over on a fixed income, but well worth it. I’m never hungry so it’s easy to stay on Keto. I hate calling it a diet, because that would mean a temporary change and this is a life style change. I encourage people of all ages to try this way of eating and see how much better they feel.
Thank You Linda, I’m 71 also and started the Keto Diet yesterday. I appreciate hearing it works for you!!
I have found that that taking an added 1200 mg. of potassium a day keeps me feeling very good.
I am 71 year old female , diabetic, take metformin and have just started ketogenic diet. I have lost no weight and feel fatigued. I find it very hard to get adequate protein in. , but could easily overdo fats. I want to start an exercise program but not sure on what to do. Also would like tips on how to get adequate protein without overdoing the fats
Carole Noyes, give yourself time to adapt. In any diet change I’ve found a brief period (about 3 to 5 days) where I feel like crap, almost flu-like symptoms, while my body adjusts. As for exercise, I would suggest waiting a while until you FEEL like moving your body around. And start slowly like a 15 minute walk a day, gradually increasing the time, speed, and distance as stamina builds. Have patience. You didn’t get this way in a day and reversing it will take a bit of time, too. Don’t give up!
I am 62 and was about to give up and accept my reality of being an obese ex career grandmother with a pretty face, when my daughter talks to me about Keto. I started June 6 and have lost 12 lbs by 6/30. I monitor my macros 10%C/25%P/65%F with MFP app. It takes patience and staying on top of nutrient levels i.e. when I began experiencing dizziness and tingling in my arm I checked and saw my potassium level was too low. My energy has returned and brain fog is gone! I laugh and engage more in family gatherings. Classy, sassy is coming back lol. Keto works for mature adults as long as we are intentional, responsible and patient. Best and blessings to all.
I am 60. My husband has done very well on me to. I, however, have bad leg cramping and have lost muscle which I fear I will not get back. I am unsure of what to do. I like the idea of no sugars and flours.
Rosalinda Mercado, Fantastic results! Are you counting total carbs or net carbs? I start tracking on 6/16/18 LoseIt [67/M/5’8″] SW:224//CW:202//GW:165 my current macros 28%P/64%F/8%C. How did you check your potassium level? Many blessing for continuing health.
I am a 72 year old male. 35 lbs overweight. Just starting Keto diet with 2 800mg pills taken 2x day with meal.
My concern is I am on warfarin (blood thinner) and blood pressure medication as I have a stent in my heart following a heart attack 7 years ago. No issues since with my meds, but wondering if the Keto diet will have a negative affect on my heart/clotting concerns.
I do have my INR blood work checked every 30 days at the Veterans Admin Clinic.
Everyone says, just exercise and get on a healthier diet, but that has never worked long term for me. So I’m ready for this.
Any advice from someone with similar concerns or experience is appreciated.
65 years young! At least that is the way Keto makes me feel. Energy, never hungry, lost 20 lbs in 4 months! I had my thyroid removed a couple of years ago, I was foggy and tired before the surgery and afterwards. Started a vitamin regimen mainly trying to get my energy back! Endocrinologist continued to encourage me to loose some weight all to no avail. Enter KETO and oh my!… needless to say it is a game changer! Yes sleep is better, pain is better, life is better! Give it a try, you will not be disappointed. Stick with it, it really works!
I got my Dad (80 years of age) onto keto, just ONE (1) week ago…
Already his arthritic inflammation is down at least 50% (and more); his widow’s hump is completely gone so he looks a couple of inches taller, and is in fact standing an inch taller; and though he hasn’t been, he looks like he’s been doing weights! He has put on a healthy kilo, but he looks like he’s put on five ~ five kgs of muscle, that is! His skin is tightening and – unbelievably – it is already noticeable!
He is remarkably healthy for his age (blood-work better than most 40 year olds, and twice as fit), but he was getting a bit too thin, and while his BP and blood-glucose is perfect, he has Dementia. No improvement in the latter yet, but MANY noticeable improvements, seemingly in every other system of his body.
I am truly amazed.
Here’s to lamb’s fry and bacon!
Thank you this has been very informative for me. I have just bought the book and will start hopefully this week. Hoping to get results just from diet as I am not good at remembering pills!
THANK YOU! I recently began cooking keto meals for my aging father who was addicted to sugar. He is completely off sugar and processed carbs. He’s doing 100% better but I had my concerns over his fatigue as well as his complaint that he was no longer hungry. It turns out that this is totally normal between the leptin and the ghrelin in his brain, two hormones that regulate appetite. After explaining this to him, he now knows it’s safe as well as it being a healthy option for him. His inflammation is down and he sleeps better.
65 male no colon cancer so no bowl just a bag… ileostomy 6ft 2 and after the opp put on 40 lbs !!!! So Keto 22lbs down and stall No I don’t take medications as such. Keto No alcohol 20g carbs and calories 1200 ish and staalllllllllll now so week off and no real weight gain perhaps a 1lb so back to the diet Tuesday after Easter 2019 and hope to see another drop. But 4 inches smaller in the waist T-shirt’shirts fit and joints much better…I do walk a mile a a day + walking my 6 dogs I just got my pilots licence back and also had a new knee last year.
i have been on Keto from Jan to May 1. I went from 233 to 215 and feel better. No sleeping problems and NO JOINT PAIN AT ALL!!!!
I lifted weights for a long time and still do at 63. I see and absolutely feel a body change coming on.
i want to lose 70 more pounds. Believe me and Joe Weider can get that done. I MISS the carbs but hate my body size. I am 5 foot 7. 215 thats too much. It makes my feet hurt literally
Joe Weider , Keto and myself have a target date of Christmas to get to at least down to 170. Ultimate goal is 150. Hey. I only weighed 112 when I got married. I was a maniac with weight lifting but never gained weight until I got married.
I went from 112 to 185 in one year. Went to the gym about a year after I got heavy Six months after aroung 160 for the next thirty years.
i quit smoking at 175 and gained 60 pounds in the following year. MY FEET HURT!!!
Started keto at 233 in Jan 2019 and by May 1 I was at 215. I want skinny again. so keto on Joe Weider
I am 71. Tried keto for six weeks. Didn’t lose a pound, not one. Was very strict. Was full all the time, ate between 500-800 calories a day. Began having terrible stomach pains. Had to quit. I have never been able to lose weight and had great hopes for this. Very sad.
There are a ton of reasons why you may not be losing weight on a keto diet. This could be:
1. Calorie intake is too high
2. Calorie intake is too low
3. You aren’t getting enough water and electrolytes
4. You aren’t in ketosis. Make sure you are testing and tracking
5. What you are eating. It may fit your macros but it may not be right for you.
I included some links below that you may find helpful:
For meals, you might want to check this link http://perfectketo.com/keto-diet-menu-beginners/
I am 67 years old and have been trying to follow Stephanie Laska’s Lazy Dirty Keto. Do any of you every get dizzy? This happened to me last year too when I tried to do the Keto diet. And after ten days of switching to very low carbs, I started sweating profusely from my forehead and getting really dizzy this evening. After I sip some bone broth and sit down for a while, it subsides, but I have to tell you that it’s scary. Any thoughts on this.? Thanks.
On a low carb diet, you are more prone to dehydration and electrolyte deficiencies which is likely the reason why you are getting dizzy and the bone broth is helping. We recommend drinking more water and supplementing with electrolytes. Check out our Keto Electrolytes: https://shop.perfectketo.com/collections/all-perfect-keto-products/products/electrolytes
65 – Husband down 50# 2 years ago on low-fat.. Me – Atkins 30 years ago; 17# weight lost, then 40# weight gain!! Taking tyhroid med wrong & another 15# gain!! Most grains & potatoes eliminated 2 years ago, started reducing sugars & walking Nov 2018, lost about 4#. Keto March 2019, lost 2# per week, then 1#; stalled at -16#, Down 1 clothing size & have reduced 1 BP med by half. Have sister (68) who started cutting carbs & able to reduce insulin…5# weight loss.
Is Keto ok for people with IBS
Talk to your doctor first before starting any diet especially if you have any condition that will make you second guess. 🙂
I lost 6 pounds my first week but the scale hasn’t moved in 3 weeks. I do enjoy a Skinnygirl vodka daily; vodka, soda water and a slice of lime. I haven’t cheated but could my little indulgence really do that much harm? I don’t want to be the pretty but pudgy grandma anymore.
@Janet Skinnygirl vodka has zero carbs, making it acceptable on keto (just don’t pair it with something sugary). Though some alcohols are keto accepted, it may potentially sabotage your diet goal. You can read more of it here: http://perfectketo.com/keto-diet-alcohol-rules/
Trying Keto at 40g carbs for 2 meals which I will reduce to OMAD and 20 carbs per day-I am still working and drink Keto Feast for breakfast then eat a meal between 3-5pm on work days-should I be watching the sat fats? I eat nothing with trans fat but I notice meal subs like Keto feast contain sat fat-how safe is that for the heart? When I eat scrambled eggs I use one yolk and 2 egg whites twice per week-do you have any suggestions? Losing all over but not the belly ????
Hi Anita, saturated fat is okay. This article might help in learning more about fats: http://perfectketo.com/good-fats-vs-bad-fats-on-the-ketogenic-diet/
Eating the yolks is fine too, unlike what other types of diet suggest. Just keep at it and make sure you’re not snacking when you shouldn’t be. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll get rid of that belly fat soon!
I’ve lost 10 lbs on keto and overall enjoy keto after years of non fat lowfat foods. Lately however, I have been very tired and sleeping alot and napping. Where is that keto energy I was experiencing?
Is this safe for someone on Afib meds and someone on heart and blood pressure meds?
Hi Roxanne, it’s best to consult a doctor to know if keto diet is safe while taking those meds.