Very low-carbohydrate diet shows benefits for older people with obesity

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A recent study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham revealed that older adults experienced improvements in body composition, fat distribution, and metabolic health when following an eight-week very low-carbohydrate diet (VLCD).

Older adults with obesity are particularly susceptible to developing cardio-metabolic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Fat deposition in specific areas, such as the abdominal cavity and skeletal muscle, may pose the greatest risk for disease development.

The study aimed to determine whether a VLCD high in fat could deplete fat depots and preserve lean mass without caloric restriction in older adults with obesity.

The researchers sought to improve risk factors associated with cardiometabolic diseases, such as insulin sensitivity and lipid profile.

After the eight-week intervention, the group following the VLCD lost more weight and total fat mass compared to the control diet group, despite being advised to consume a weight-maintaining diet.

Egg consumption was a significant part of the VLCD, with participants asked to consume at least three eggs per day.

The primary fat loss difference between the two groups was observed in the abdominal cavity and skeletal muscle depots.

The VLCD also led to substantial improvements in lipid profile, reducing the risk of heart disease. Additionally, insulin sensitivity improved, reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Overall, the study demonstrated positive effects on body composition, fat distribution, and metabolic health in response to the eight-week VLCD.

The researchers believe that very low-carbohydrate diets can serve as a therapeutic option for various conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

While there is existing evidence regarding the benefits of VLCDs in younger populations, this study is among the first to explore this dietary approach to improve obesity-related outcomes in individuals over 65 years of age.

This age group faces a higher risk of other diseases and requires interventions to enhance health while preserving skeletal muscle mass and delaying functional decline.

In summary, the study suggests that a very low-carbohydrate diet can be beneficial for older adults with obesity, leading to improvements in body composition, fat distribution, and metabolic health.

This dietary approach shows promise for conditions like Type 2 diabetes and obesity in this population.

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