Washington: In a new study, improvements in body composition, fat distribution, and metabolic health were observed in response to an eight-week low-carbohydrate diet.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama at the Nutrition Obesity Research Center in Birmingham, was published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism.
Older adults with obesity are at particularly high risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Instead of total fat mass, the deposition of fat in specific areas, such as the abdominal cavity and skeletal muscle, can bring this greatest risk of developing disease.
The study's lead author is Amy Goss, Ph.D., RDN, an assistant professor in the UAB's Department of Nutrition Sciences. According to Goss, her team wanted to determine whether a high-fat diet with very low carbohydrates or VLCDs would break down those fat deposits and maintain lean mass without intentional calorie restriction in older adults with obesity, thereby increasing the findings related to cardiometabolic conditions like insulin sensitivity and that Lipid profile.
“After the eight-week intervention, the group consuming the very low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight and total fat mass than the control diet group, despite the recommendation to consume a weight-maintaining diet"Said Goss.
Eating eggs was an important part of the VLCD prescribing. Goss and her team provided the participants in this diet group with eggs and asked them to consume at least three a day.
"Although eggs were part of this study, we cannot conclude that our results are a result of daily egg consumption. But I think we can conclude that whole eggs can be included in the diet healthily without the blood cholesterol in the elderly Adversely affecting adults, ”she said.
The main difference in fat loss between the two groups was in the abdominal cavity and skeletal muscle deposits.
"We also saw significant improvements in the overall lipid profile, reflecting the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease," said Goss.
“In addition, insulin sensitivity improved in response to the very low-carb diet, reflecting the reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Overall, we observed improvements in body composition, fat distribution, and metabolic health in response to an eight-week, very low-carb diet. "
VLCD effect on diabetes
According to Goss, VLCDs are a therapeutic option for many conditions, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
"This study adds to previous research to show that this may be a safe therapeutic option for older adults in their 70s who are obese," she said. "This is the first study to show the breakdown of" metabolically harmful "fat deposits while maintaining skeletal muscle during weight loss in response to VLCD in older adults."
Goss adds that there is ample evidence of the benefits of a very low-carb diet in younger populations, and this study was one of the first to test this nutritional approach to improve obesity-related outcomes in adults over 65. A population at particularly high risk for other diseases who needs therapeutic interventions to improve health and maintain skeletal muscle mass in order to prevent or delay functional decline with age.
A good or a bad egg?
"Historically, eggs have had a bad rap starting with the nutritional guidelines for egg consumption established by the American Heart Association in 1968," Goss said. "It was recommended not to eat more than three whole eggs a week."
Goss added that the concern stemmed from the cholesterol and saturated fat content of the egg yolk. Since then, these recommendations have loosened as recent research has shown the negligible impact of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol. And just this month, the Advisory Committee on Nutritional Guidelines made recommendations to increase life-span egg consumption, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as first-rate foods for infants and young children.
“This historic first for the Dietary Guidelines Committee recognized eggs as an important, nutrient-dense food source, as eggs are a rich source of protein, choline, B12, selenium, vitamin D, and a long list of other nutrients that are important for growth and development as well maintaining muscle mass, ”said Goss.
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