Low-carb and high-fat diet helps obese older adults

In the journals

Published: December, 2020

Scientists continue to explore the right balance of carbohydrates and fat in people's diets. But for overweight or obese older adults, a recent study found that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet might offer special health benefits. The results were published online Aug. 12, 2020, by Nutrition and Metabolism.

Researchers asked 40 obese adults, ages 60 to 75, to follow an eight-week diet in which 10% of calories came from carbs, 25% from protein, and 65% from fat. Carb sources included leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, some fruit, and high-fiber grains. Protein intake consisted of eggs, fish, pork, and poultry. Fat-containing foods included olive oil, coconut oil, nut oils, nut butter, cheese, coconut milk, and avocados.

Compared with a control group, the low-carb, high-fat group lost more visceral fat (the deep hidden fat surrounding abdominal organs). They also had a big drop in insulin resistance and improved their cholesterol levels. These changes are linked with a lower risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. While this diet's long-term benefits are unknown, reducing carb intake could be a way for older adults to jump-start their weight-loss efforts and improve their health in ways that the scale does not always show.

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