Study Finds 8-week Long Very Low-carb Diet Effective for Weight Loss in Older Adults

a plate is filled with fresh fruit and vegetables: Study Finds 8-week Long Very Low-carb Diet Effective for Weight Loss in Older Adults

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Study Finds 8-week Long Very Low-carb Diet Effective for Weight Loss in Older Adults

Finding that perfect weight-loss diet can often seem impossible, especially if you are obese and want to lose enough weight to become fit. This goal gets even more difficult with age. As you cross your 30s and 40s, your metabolism slows down, muscle and bone loss speed up, and fat starts amassing especially in certain areas like the abdomen, tummy and limbs.

The fact that such weight gain and obesity, in your midlife and after, is associated with many health conditions, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, is also well-known. The risk of getting these diseases due to obesity is quite high, no matter what your age. But suffering from these can be quite debilitating as you get older, and may even heighten the chances of early death.

So, clearly, weight loss past your midlife is just as vital but more difficult to achieve. Researchers behind a recent study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism may have found the perfect solution to obesity and weight loss issues in older adults.

Ideal weight loss for older adults

The study selected 34 men and women aged between 60 and 75 years with obesity, divided them into two groups, and prescribed them two diet plans. One group was asked to have a very low carbohydrate diet (VLCD) and the other was given a low-fat diet (LFD) to follow for eight weeks. After eight weeks, it was found that the group that followed the VLCD lost three times more weight from the tummy area than those who followed the LFD.

What’s more, the VLCD group also lost significant amounts of fat from their thighs but also developed more thigh muscles in the same eight weeks. The VLCD group had also improved insulin sensitivity and their high-density lipoprotein or ‘good cholesterol’ levels, with a simultaneous decrease in fasting insulin and triglyceride levels during the same duration.

The highly effective VLC diet

Clearly, a diet with very low carbohydrate content can help reduce fat levels from the right places in older adults. At the same time, this diet improves metabolic function, insulin sensitivity and the lipid profile. Once you have your blood sugar, cholesterol and metabolism functioning properly, the risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure is reduced.

But, it’s very important to note here that a VLCD does not mean starvation – because that would have more negative effects than these positive ones mentioned above. Instead of severe calorie restriction, the participants in this study were told to eliminate either carbohydrates or fats from their diets as per their assigned groups.

The VLCD group, in fact, was told to consume three whole eggs every day along with other proteins like chicken and fish, non-starchy vegetables, leafy greens, fruits and high fiber grains. Processed grain products like refined flour and added sugars were completely eliminated from their diet. Fat-containing foods like olive, coconut, nuts and seeds were added to their diet along with dairy products. Therefore, they ate low-glycemic foods which are very low in carbohydrates, but high in complex carbs, dietary fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Nutritionally, therefore, the VLCD is balanced and highly beneficial. And as the study proves, it helps reduce fat deposits in obese older adults. Given such promising results in a much older age group, maybe the benefits of this nutritious weight loss diet can be reaped by those who are much younger as well. Definitely something you could discuss with your nutritionist or doctor.

For more information, read our article on Healthy foods to lose weight.

Health articles on News18 are written by, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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