Low-carb, high-fat diet may help older adults

Low-carb, high-fat diet may help older adults

A high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet has been shown to deliver a host of health benefits to older adults. New research reveals that seniors who changed their eating habits for eight weeks improved their body composition, fat distribution and overall metabolic health.

Scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham wanted to know if such a diet would deplete fat deposits that increase disease risk while also preserving lean mass and not restricting calorie intake. They found study participants in the low-carb diet group lost more weight and fat mass than those in a control group.

Not only did the dieters lose abdominal fat, they also had improvements in blood cholesterol. While the benefits of a high-fat, low-carb diet in younger adults have been well-established, the study was among the first of its kind in adults over age 65.

One of the main foods eaten by the study participants was eggs. They were asked to eat at least three eggs per day. And while no cause and effect was established between eggs and the diet’s health benefits, eggs are known to be a good source of nutrition and blood cholesterol levels among the participants did not spike.

In the 1960s, experts recommended eating no more than a few eggs a week. More recently, those recommendations have been modified because dietary cholesterol has been found to have little effect on blood cholesterol.

The high-fat, low-carb diet was shown to deplete harmful fat deposits while preserving skeletal muscle mass. That is particularly important for older adults who need to lose weight while maintaining muscle mass.

For older adults, the message is clear: Crack open some eggs — and hold the toast.

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