To Your Health
September, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 09)
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Low Carb, High Fat for Senior Weight Loss

By Editorial Staff

When it comes to weight loss, we may never quite know whether one dietary strategy works better than another. Low fat, low carb, high fat, high protein – any combination could be effective, depending on which study and success stories you read.

In general, seniors don't want to lose weight unless they're heavy to begin with, because the natural aging process tends to make seniors thinner, weaker and more prone to functional deficits that can restrict activity and lead to injury.

However, for obese seniors, weight loss is essential to help maintain mobility and reduce health risks that can prove fatal, particularly at an older age.

So, which weight-loss dietary strategy works best in this case? A recent study evaluated just that,  with one group of obese seniors participating in an eight-week low-carbohydrate, high-fat dietary intervention (only 10 percent of calories from carbs, 25 percent from protein and 65 percent from fat), and a second group continuing their standard lower-fat diet (55 percent of calories from carbs, 25 percent from protein, 20 percent from fat).

After eight weeks, seniors in the low-carb group had lost nearly 10 percent of total fat compared with under 3 percent in the second group. The low-carb group also achieved greater improvements in insulin sensitivity and "good" cholesterol, and greater reductions in fasting insulin and triglycerides, compared to the low-fat group.

According to the study authors, writing about their findings in Nutrition & Metabolism, an estimated 35 percent of seniors ages 65 and older are obese. Considering the health impact of obesity at any age, but particularly as we get older, effective dietary interventions are critical. Getting old is challenging enough without letting weight compromise your health and wellness even more.

Take back the power today. If you're a senior struggling with weight, talk to your doctor about whether a low-carb, high-fat diet is right for you – in conjunction, of course, with a low-impact exercise routine that helps burn calories and maintain / build muscle safely.