Cutting 200 Calories A Day Can Help Undo Decades of Bad Eating Habits in Seniors

If you’re a senior who spent their whole life eating poorly and rarely exercising, a new study shows that it’s not too late to undo the damage.

USNews reports that there’s recent research to show that reducing only 200 calories a day and some moderate exercise is enough to not only lose weight but also improve vascular health in elders suffering from obesity.

This breakthrough study is the first of its kind, according to Tina Brinkley, associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine. “”This is the first study to assess the effects of aerobic exercise training with and without reducing calories on aortic stiffness, which was measured via cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging [CMR] to obtain detailed images of the aorta.”

The randomized trial sampled 160 adults aged 65 to 79 living sedentary lifestyles and suffering from obesity. Over a study period of 20 weeks, these 160 elders were divided into three separate intervention groups. One group added exercise but stuck to their old diet, another group exercised and reduced calorie intake by 200 per day, and the third group exercised and reduced calorie intake by 600 calories a day.

All participants took part in a supervised aerobics course four days a week.

Interestingly, only the group that reduced its daily calorie intake by 200 experienced weight loss of nearly 10% and significant improvements in heart health. None of the aortic stiffness benefits seen in that group were seen in the other two groups.

Another interesting discovery: weight loss was similar between the two groups that cut calories, despite the 600-calorie-cutters reducing 3 times the caloric intake of their 200-calorie cutting co-subjects.

The study in question was published in the journal Circulation on August 2.

“The finding that higher-intensity calorie restriction may not be necessary or advised has important implications for weight loss recommendations to improve cardiovascular disease risk in older adults with obesity,” said Brinkley in a news release.

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