Human dietary needs change throughout the life cycle. Infants rely on breast milk or formula to get their nutrients, while older adults require fewer calories to maintain their weight than a younger adult might require. By the time an adult reaches late adulthood, he or she will require much fewer calories than during his or her teenage years. It is important for older adults to keep this in mind to avoid gaining too much weight later in life.
The human need for caloric intake hits a peak during the teenage years, and caloric intake needs decrease slowly but surely at a rate of about 5 percent every 10 years. Though adults over 50 require fewer calories overall, they do not require fewer nutrients. Therefore, aging adults may want to focus on consuming more nutrient-dense foods in smaller quantities. This may mean cutting back on favorite foods and focusing instead on fruits and vegetables that deliver necessary dietary components such as fiber, vitamins and minerals. It may be necessary for older adults to start supplementing their diets with vitamins as the body loses its ability to efficiently absorb nutrients such as vitamin B-12.