The 7 ages of appetite: Understand these phases to eat better and prevent obesity
06/26/2018 // RJ Jhonson // Views

Most people think that the desire to eat is driven by hunger. But appetite is not as simple as originally thought. Learning how it works and the seven phases it goes through over the years will help you make better decisions about what you eat and in the process, avoid diet-related problems such as obesity.

First decade

The body goes through many changes during the first decade. This period is significant because it plays a huge role in shaping a person's eating habits. Kids at this age can be picky, but through careful, repeated exposure to different flavors, parents can get them accustomed to unfamiliar yet crucial food groups.

During this time, different stimuli and experiences can lead kids into being more likely to overeat as adults. Being forced to clear the plate may lead them to lose the ability to follow their appetite and stop eating when they need to. Similarly, the prevalence of food-related advertising can increase their food consumption and lead to obesity.

Second decade

At this point, many of the decisions made -- whether it's about food or otherwise -- are influenced affected by hormones. Unfortunately, the preferences developed during this period are likely to continue into adulthood. Young women going through adolescence experience many changes that can affect their body's ability to obtain proper nutrition. The possibility of pregnancy, a development common among many teenagers today, is yet another issue as it will lead a young girl's developing body to compete with the fetus over nutrients.


Third decade

Ages 20 to 30 are marked by lifestyle changes that can lead to many pronounced bodily changes. Getting a job, finding a partner, or going off to college, among other milestones, may lead to decisions that will have a long-term impact on your nutrition and body weight.

Unfortunately, this age also coincides with the inability to easily lose whatever weight you gain. Eating becomes both a physical and psychological exercise, augmenting the difficulty of maintaining a healthy diet. Modern research is centered on satiety or controlling how full you feel as a means to help people, especially those of this age, to lose weight.

Fourth decade

At this stage, most people are focused on their career. This marks the emergence of stress as a major driving force behind eating decisions and habits. Generally, people have two ways of coping with stress: over- and under-eating. Either outcome is not good for the body. (Related: Overeating doubles risk of memory loss and cognitive decline as we age.)

To deal with the issue, employers are encouraged to help their employees make better eating decisions by making healthy food options more readily available. Additionally, employers can also work towards creating a productive and healthy workplace that offers several avenues for managing stress.

Fifth decade

This period is often marked by a rapid decline in one's health, at which point the choices of the past begin to catch up to you. During this period, you should look into trading old, harmful habits for healthier ones. After all, most of the symptoms of illness – whether it's blood sugar or cholesterol level – are invisible and are often felt only when they become very advanced.

Sixth decade

From 50 to 60 years old, you may experience a rapid decline in muscle mass, leading to a weaker body. To cope, people are encouraged to engage in physical activity to maintain their muscle tone. Eating a diet rich in protein and other nutrients will also help replace whatever building blocks the body loses.

Seventh decade

At this point, the focus is on maintaining a good quality of life. Most people suffer from a variety of degenerative diseases during this stage. They may also suffer from impairments, such as reduced senses of taste and smell, the absence of teeth, and the inability to swallow, that can negatively affect their ability to eat and enjoy food.

Matching what you eat with the demands of your age will go a long way toward maximizing the benefits you gain from your meals.

Find more stories on how to safely and effectively lose weight at

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