It’s a fact that seniors who are overweight have a higher risk of developing some serious health conditions. Overweight seniors can develop diabetes or increase the chances of having a stroke or a heart attack. They also may struggle with mobility issues or painful joints as a result of the extra weight. Doctors often recommend that seniors who are overweight try diets and exercise to get down to a healthy weight. But is a calorie deficit for weight loss harmful for seniors? Unless recommended by a doctor and carried about under a doctor’s supervision, a calorie deficit could be an unhealthy choice for seniors.

What’s A Calorie Deficit?

In order to lose weight a senior needs to burn more calories than they eat. So theoretically eating fewer calories while not changing anything about their lifestyle should help a senior lose weight without having to increase the amount of exercise that they’re doing. A calorie deficit is a specific reduction in calories used to lose weight. However, it’s not as simple or as effective as it sounds.

Calories Aren’t All That Matters

One of the biggest flaws in the calorie deficit plan to lose weight is that a calorie deficit doesn’t regard one type of food as more benefit as the other. The only thing that matters is the amount of calories eaten. But food isn’t eaten just for calories. Foods contain the vitamins and minerals that people need to fuel their bodies and brains. Some foods that are higher in calories, like meat, also have larger amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Calories aren’t all that matter when it comes to choosing foods.

Seniors Are Largely Malnourished

According to the latest data the number of seniors who are malnourished could be over 50%. That means that 1 in 2 seniors aren’t getting enough calories or enough of the vitamins and minerals they need. A calorie deficit could be very harmful for seniors who are already not getting the nutrition they need. Seniors should be making smart food choices, but cutting out calories isn’t a smart food choice unless a doctor has prescribed it for your senior loved one. If your senior parent is on a calorie deficit prescribed by a doctor a home care provider can help your senior loved one choose foods that fit the eating plan recommended by the doctor and help prepare them. But seniors should never start a calorie deficit unless their doctor tells them to.

Stay Away From Fad Diets

Meals and nutrition can be complicated for seniors, especially for seniors who take medications that might make them gain weight but also take away their appetite. The best way for seniors to lose weight if they are overweight is to have their doctor prescribe a way of eating that will provide the nutrition they need while also cutting enough calories to lose weight. But fad diets can be very dangerous for seniors. So seniors and their families should always get medical advice before starting any kind of weight loss journey.


If you or an aging loved one is considering home care in Minneapolis, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.