Saturday, April 29, 2006


A Trick to Prevent Middle-Age Spread

When women hit their 50s, they typically gain weight. And while they may not lose much on this diet, they won't gain it either if they stick to a low-fat, high-carbohydrate blend of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while shunning fatty foods.

The long-term clinical trial of more than 48,000 post-menopausal women ages 50 to 79 led by Barbara V. Howard of MedStar Research Institute in Washington, D.C., found that women on this diet maintained a modest weight loss over a 7-1/2 year period.

But the most important finding is they were able to stave off the natural weight gain most women experience during this time of life.

The team used data from the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial, which was designed to examine the long-term benefits and risks of a diet that was generally low in fat and high in vegetables, fruits and grains on breast and colorectal cancers and cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. The MedStar team found that women who maintained this low-fat, high-carb diet lost 4.8 pounds in the first year and then maintained a modest weight loss for the next 6-1/2 years of the study period.

While the weight loss was not dramatic, the women didn't gain weight either--at any point during the study. This suggests "that a low-fat dietary pattern may help attenuate the tendency for weight gain commonly observed in postmenopausal women," the authors wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association in which the study findings were published. The tendency to not gain weight occurred in all types of women, no matter their age, ethnicity or body mass index.

The big takeaway: Eating a low-fat, high-carb diet won't make you gain weight, despite the claims of some fad diets, and it will likely help you to maintain your weight even when the forces of nature are conspiring to pack on those pounds.


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