A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on the best ways for postmenopausal women to lose weight found that answer was to: skip dessert, lay off the sweets and soft drinks, and eat more fruits and veggies. What a surprise! And they say scientific research is a waste!
I didn’t need a lab and a grant to tell you that, but it’s great that medical researchers are proving what I have been saying all along in these columns!
Dr. Bethany Barone Gibbs, from the University of Pittsburgh, conducted the study. Gibbs said that researchers have long known that dieting and losing weight is especially challenging for women over 50, with their declining energy and hormone levels. Just ask my wife, she, like most women, know that post-menopause, the pounds go on easier, and come off much harder!
The purpose of the study was to help these women by finding out if there were simple dietary and behavioral changes they could make, that could lead to long-term and sustainable weight loss. The study tracked 500 post-menopausal women dieters at six months, and again four years later. The results of the study indicated that eating less sugar, cutting down on meats and cheeses, and eating more fruits and vegetables were shown to support long-term weight loss. Apparently, for post-menopausal women, just reducing caloric intake alone, is not enough to sustain weight loss.
In a University Press Release regarding the study, Gibbs said, “We found that some important behaviors differ for long-term versus short-term weight control among women in their 50s and 60s, who are already at higher risk for weight gain.”
More From the Study on Weight Loss and Older Women
Gibbs’ study divided the women into two groups; one the “lifestyle change” group received specific counseling from nutritionists, fitness trainers, and psychologists on a regular basis. The other group was encouraged to try to lose weight, and was given the option of enrolling in a health education group with no particular emphasis on weight loss. On average, the women in the lifestyle change group lost 8 pounds over the four years. In comparison, the women in the health education group lost only about a half a pound.
In both groups, short-term weight loss during the first six months was attributed to mostly eating less sugar and less fried foods, and to eating more fish.
Those in the lifestyle group that kept the weight off after four years, ate less deserts, sugary drinks, cut down on meats and cheeses, and ate more fruits and vegetables, “…indicating that these practices were more appropriate for long-term effects.”