The slow aging principles can be applied to our diets as follows:


Awareness is the first rule of SLOW aging. Some advocate starting with a clean slate. Clear out your pantry and fridge of all the unnecessary, out of date, energy-dense and otherwise unhealthy foods. For most of us, a healthy change does not need to be this drastic. The most important part is to actually notice what’s on your plate and think about the impact it may be having on our health.

Planning and setting goals

The second step is planning and setting goals. Start with the low hanging fruit. For example, stop buying that packet of chips or eat a small amount with really healthy dips and vegetable sticks as your dinner (rather than a snack).

Dieting as a positive experience

The third step is to make your diet a positive experience, not a punishment.  Get excited about the diet you plan to implement. Enjoy the experience of new foods and new recipes. Relish the new connections you can make through your food choices (maybe the grower, the seller or the environment).

Your diet must be sustainable

The choices you make must be ones that are sustainable for the long-term.  Otherwise they are simply a fad.

Avoid exclusiveness

Don’t be exclusive. A diet won’t be effective if it isn’t part of an overall plan with a range of different strategies. There are so many theories on nutrition management that it is difficult at times to put them into any practical context.  Many diets have been popularized on the back of only one or two of these useful concepts. The challenge is to understand where all these approaches fit when trying to work out a long-term program for ourselves. No matter what the advertising says, there is no one diet that will work for everybody.  Any diet also needs to be part of an overall plan with a range of different strategies. For example, a diet may have benefits for weight control, but for those to be sustained they are best combined with other techniques, like exercise and stress management. A diet won’t be effective if it isn’t part of an overall plan. Don’t be exclusive. In fact it may even be counterproductive.

Don’t go it alone, get help

When you plan to make a change it is easier if you have some help. There are many dieticians, nutritionists and other specialists out there who can offer advice and support.

Be selective

Finally, for your diet to work, you have to be selective. You have to try a few different products to find the one that is best suited to your needs. The bulk of nutritional information is written as universal recommendations, a ‘one size fits all’ approach, without recognizing that your individual nutritional needs are different. It is important to personalize nutrition recommendations when putting them into practice. A number of differences also exist between one individual and the next in absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of dietary nutrients. So one way of getting your diet ‘just right’ is to better understand your particular requirements.

Last Reviewed 03/Mar/2014

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Dr Merlin Thomas

Professor Merlin Thomas is Professor of Medicine at Melbourne’s Monash University, based in the Department of Diabetes. He is both a physician and a scientist. Merlin has a broader interest in all aspects of preventive medicine and ageing. He has published over 270 articles in many of the worlds’ leading medical journals

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