Many people are watching what they eat to improve their health, and dropping extra pounds can be beneficial as well. When people get older, weight-loss programs are not always safe when they lead to bone or muscle loss, which is already an issue for seniors. One possible solution is a high-protein diet. Read on to learn about some new research that reveals a promising dietary approach.
A recent study that was published in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences derived some interesting findings with a group of adults over 65 who were overweight. The 96 seniors were divided into two groups. One group ate .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, while the second group ate more than one gram of protein per pound of body weight. The difference in weight loss results was remarkable.
The control group that ate a lower-protein diet only showed an average weight loss of a half-pound, but the group that ate the high-protein diet saw significantly better results. Participants in the group lost an average of 18 pounds, and 87 percent of this weight was from body fat. Another positive effect of the high-protein program was that weight came off of areas that are problematic for developing health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic-related illnesses. These areas include the waist, thighs, buttocks, and hips.
The high-protein diet also enabled the group that ate it to maintain higher muscle mass and bone density after weight loss. In some cases, bone health even showed better numbers than before the program. In the low-protein control group, these benefits were not observed.
The results of this study show that the theory of a low-calorie, high-protein diet consisting of about 1 gram or more of protein per pound of bodyweight will help seniors manage weight without detrimental loss of bone or muscle tissue. This also shows some hope for people who struggle to lose fat in stubborn body areas. Another guideline that participants adhered to on the high-protein diet was to get adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium.
For seniors who are considering this type of diet, the best way to increase protein intake is to eat healthy foods that include eggs, poultry, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. It’s also important for overall nutrition to add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your diet while avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates.