Looking for a diet to follow for better metabolic health? According to the new study results, improvements were observed in body composition, fat distribution, and metabolic health in response to an 8 week very low-carbohydrate diet.
The study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Nutrition Obesity Research Centre.
Older adults with obesity are at a mainly high risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Rather than the total fat mass, deposition of fat in certain areas, such as the abdominal cavity and skeletal muscle, may confer this greatest risk of disease development.
The lead authorof the study is an assistant professor, ch.D., RDN with UAB’s Department of Nutrition Sciences. Goss says her team aimed to determine if a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet would reduce these fat depots and preserve lean mass without intentional caloric restriction in older adults with obesity, thereby improving outcomes related to cardiometabolic diseases, such as insulin sensitivity and the lipid profile.
“After the eight-week intervention, despite the recommendation to consume a weight-maintaining diet, the group consuming the very low-carbohydrate diet lost more weight and total fat mass than the control diet group,” said Goss.
Consumption of Egg was an important part of the very low-carbohydrate prescription. Eggs were provided by the Gpss and her team to the participants in this diet group and asked them to consume at least three per day.
“While eggs were a part of this study, we can’t conclude that our findings are a result of daily egg consumption; but I think what we can conclude is that whole eggs can be incorporated into the diet in a healthful way without adversely impacting blood cholesterol in older adults,” she stated.The primary difference in fat loss between the two groups was from the abdominal cavity and the skeletal muscle depots.
“We also found significant improvements in the overall lipid profile that would reflect the decreased risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Goss. “Further, insulin sensitivity improved in response to the very low-carbohydrate 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-carbohydrate diet.”
Very low-carbohydrate diet effect on diabetes
Goss informed that VLCDs are a therapeutic option for many conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
“This study extends previous research to show that it can be a safe, therapeutic option for older adults in their 70s experiencing obesity.” “This is the first study to demonstrate the depletion of ‘metabolically harmful’ fat depots while preserving skeletal muscle during weight loss in response to a VLCD in older adults,” she said.
Goss also adds that there is quite a bit of evidence about the benefits of a VLCD in younger populations, and this study was one of the first to test this dietary approach to improve outcomes related to obesity in adults older than age 65, a population this is particularly at high risk of other diseases and in need of therapeutic interventions to improve health while preserving skeletal muscle mass to prevent or delay functional decline with age.
What are good or bad egg?
“Historically, eggs have received a bad rap beginning with the nutrition guidelines on egg consumption set forth by the American Heart Association in 1968,” said Goss. “It was recommended that no more than three whole eggs be consumed each week.”
Goss says by adding that the concern stemmed from the cholesterol and saturated fat content of the egg yolk. Since then, these recommendations have loosened because more current research demonstrated the negligible impact of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol. And the Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee just this month issued recommendations to increase the consumption of eggs across the lifespan, including pregnant and lactating women, and also as a first food for infants and toddlers.
“This historical first for the Dietary Guidelines Committee recognised eggs as an important, nutrient-rich food source, as eggs are a rich source of protein, choline, B12, selenium, vitamin D and a long list of other nutrients vital to growth and development as well as maintenance of muscle mass,” said Goss.