Low-carb diet improves metabolic health in older people

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A recent study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham discovered that an eight-week, very low-carbohydrate diet resulted in improved body composition, fat distribution, and metabolic health in older people.

Older adults with obesity are particularly at risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and this diet could reduce those risks.

The research team aimed to determine whether a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet could reduce fat deposits in problematic areas like the abdominal cavity and skeletal muscle, and preserve lean mass in older adults with obesity without caloric restriction.

These changes could in turn improve risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases, such as insulin sensitivity and lipid profile.

After eight weeks on this diet, despite maintaining their usual calorie intake, the group following the very low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight and total fat mass than the control diet group.

Egg consumption, which the team encouraged with at least three per day, was a significant part of this diet.

The primary fat loss difference between the groups came from the abdominal cavity and skeletal muscle depots.

The researchers also saw substantial improvements in the lipid profile, reflecting a decreased risk of heart disease. Insulin sensitivity improved in response to the very low-carbohydrate diet, suggesting a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The study demonstrated that an eight-week, very low-carbohydrate diet led to improvements in body composition, fat distribution, and metabolic health.

The team suggests that very low-carb diets could be a therapeutic option for many conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

While evidence of the benefits of a very low-carbohydrate diet in younger populations already exists, this study is one of the first to test this dietary approach in improving obesity outcomes in adults older than age 65, a population at particularly high risk of other diseases.

If you’re interested in diabetes, consider reading about new ways to achieve Type 2 diabetes remission, and how one avocado a day keeps diabetes at bay.

For more information about diabetes, recent studies have identified five dangerous signs of diabetes-related eye disease, and why pomegranate is a super fruit for people with diabetes.

The study, conducted by Amy Goss and her team, was published in Nutrition and Metabolism.

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