The best part about being a grown-up is having the freedom to do—and eat—whatever you want. Pizza for breakfast? Yolo. But when the muffin tops and man boobs start to appear, it can be a rude wake-up call that many foods aren’t without consequence.
Even if you don’t feel any different than you did in your teens and twenties, the body changes in ways that make it harder to lose weight and remain in good health. To help you age gracefully into a body you’ll want to flaunt no matter how many years go by, the Eat This, Not That! research team dug into the science of aging and nutrition to uncover the foods that should never pass your lips after you’ve celebrated the big 3-0.
Even if you’ve started slathering on the wrinkle cream, no product changes the fact that your skin is beginning to age. After 30, collagen production slows and elastin—the protein that keeps skin firm—begins to break down, causing fine lines to form. Although it’s impossible to stop the aging process, it’s possible to keep your youthful complexion later into life by cutting back on sugar, a nutrient that’s been shown to accelerate wrinkling and sagging.
Already cutting back on candy and cookies? Don’t assume you’re in the clear. Many sources of the sweet stuff are hiding in less obvious places like bread, ketchup and flavored yogurts. Dannon’s Fruit on the Bottom flavored yogurt line, for example, has about 24 grams—or an entire day’s worth—of sugar in each 6-ounce container. That’s more sugar than you’d find in an entire bag of Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms!
Eat This! Tip
Calm your sugar cravings by snacking on a sweet piece of fruit. We’re fans of all produce, but bananas are, hands down, one of our favorites. Find out why in our exclusive report, 21 Amazing Things Bananas Do To Your Body.
A cutting-edge study published in 2013 found a connection between high blood pressure and skin aging. Compared to their older-looking counterparts, female study participants with fewer wrinkles also had lower blood pressure. Although the connection between the two issues remains unclear, there’s no harm in cutting back on sodium, a mineral that’s known to raise blood pressure.
Not sure how to start scaling back? Head to your pantry and take a hard look at your shelf-stable soups. U.S. guidelines call for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, but many popular cans carry 40 percent of the day’s recommended salt intake in just one serving. But that’s not the only reason you should stay away from the stuff. Many soup cans are laced with BPA, a chemical that’s been linked to cancer, infertility and weight gain.
Our suggestion: Next time you’re craving something warm and comforting, head to the kitchen and whip up one of these 20 Best-Ever Fat Burning Soups instead.