Older Women Lose Weight with Low-Fat Diet

Weight loss after menopause achieved with low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet

TUESDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet with no goal of weight loss does, in fact, result in a sustained loss of weight, according to a report in the Jan. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial included 48,835 postmenopausal women, with 40% randomized to the intervention group and 60% to a control group. The intervention consisted of group and individual sessions aimed at lowering fat intake and increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables and grains. Neither weight loss nor calorie restriction was a goal of intervention. Mean follow-up was 7.5 years.

Women randomized to the intervention lost a mean of 2.2 kilograms in the first year and kept nearly all of the weight off during follow-up. Controls had no significant weight loss at 7.5 years.

Barbara V. Howard, Ph.D., of MedStar Research Institute in Washington, D.C., and colleagues report "no tendency toward weight gain" in the intervention group. "A similar but lesser trend" in weight loss was seen with an increased fruit and vegetable intake. Higher fiber consumption was associated with a non-significant trend toward weight loss. Weight loss was greatest in both groups of women who reduced fat-based calories in their diets.

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