Low-carb, high fat diet may work for older adults too.

It is a known fact that as we age, our metabolism slows down and it increasingly gets difficult to shed excessive weight. Older adults with too-much weight are more prone to developing diseases like diabetes and heart ailments. Hence, diet intervention is important in older adults, especially for people dealing with obesity. So, what should their diet be like? Will the current trending diets like keto diet work? Maybe. If the findings of a recent study are to be believed, low-carb high-fat diet may actually help older adults deal with obesity. 

A new study, published in Nutrition and Metabolism, claims that low-carb and high-fat diets may improve the body composition, fat distribution and metabolic health of the elderly. Researchers with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center observed carried out the 8-week study to see if very low carbohydrate diet (VLCD) could promote fat loss from the visceral cavity and skeletal muscle, without compromising lean mass, and improve insulin sensitivity in aging adults with obesity.

The study’s lead author is Amy Goss, Ph.D., RDN, an assistant professor with UAB’s Department of Nutrition Sciences. Goss said, “To our knowledge, this is the first randomized trial comparing the effects of a very low CHO vs standard, low fat diet on change in body composition, fat distribution, and insulin sensitivity using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp technique among older adults with obesity.”

For the research, forty men and women with obesity were roped in from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) EatRight Weight Management Clinic and from the local communities (UAB, Birmingham, and Jefferson and Shelby Counties). 

The VLCD was designed to provide 25% energy from protein, and 65% energy from fat. The participants were asked to consume 3 whole eggs per day along with other protein sources including meat, fish, pork, and poultry. The diet emphasized low-glycemic sources of carbohydrate, and included mainly whole foods, such as leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, some fruits, and high fiber grains with minimal highly processed grain products and added sugar. Fat-containing foods included olive, coconut, and nut oils; butter; tree nuts and nut butters; cheese; cream; coconut milk; and avocados. A number of full-fat dairy products were included. Saturated fat from red meat was limited to less than 10% of daily caloric intake.

“These data suggest that recommendation of a VLCD in older adults with obesity results in weight loss with favorable changes in body composition, depletion of adipose tissue from metabolically harmful depots, and improvement in lipids and glucose metabolism,” Goss said. 

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By Papa