Expert Q&A: Antiaging and Diet
An interview with David Grotto, RD, LDN.
How important are genetics to the aging process? Can you do anything to control your genes?
I'm not a genetics expert, but what I find truly amazing is when it's hard
to distinguish who's the daughter and who's the mother. So there certainly is a
thing of passing on good genes. But I think, too, that some mothers have passed
along their commitment to a healthy lifestyle. That may be a good part of
What's your opinion about hormones and menopause? Do they slow down aging?
The whole concept of estrogen replacement therapy was about that. The only
difficulty is the side consequences of doing that, potentially putting women at
risk of heart disease.
So there are foods naturally rich in phytoestrogens that may help keep skin
nice and supple. Soy is a good source. Beans and legumes are generally high in
phytoestrogens. Flax, too. The key with those foods is not to wait until you
turn 50 to suddenly start eating them. Start earlier eating moderate amounts of
There's a book out: Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat. It's very
interesting because if anybody doesn't show their age, it's Japanese women.
That's a nod to their diet historically. There definitely may be something
there -- to eating tofu and vegetables.
But we in America tend to think more is better. In Japanese culture, soy is
not the main thing on the plate. A handful of edamame, a little tofu in soup,
is enough. You don't need to eat a whole brick of tofu. More is not necessarily
Why do some people follow a healthy lifestyle, eat a nutritious diet, yet still look older than their age?
I certainly have seen people who are ultra-fit, but they show a lot of the
aging process going on. When you're subjecting the body to lots of physical
stressors, like ultra-marathoners do, you have so low a percentage of body fat
that the skin is not looking as youthful and supple as it could. On the other
hand, the ultra-marathoner might outlive us all.
A lot of people who have been overweight all their lives, then lost weight,
will have sagging skin that gives the appearance of aging. But that should
never be a deterrent to losing weight. That's what plastic surgeons are