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Older Female Dieters Tend To Regain Lost Weight As Fat Rather Than Muscle

December 12, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Some older women who lose weight gain a lot of it back within 12 months, mainly in the form of fat rather than muscle, a fact that may have negative implications for the elderly, a U.S. study has found.  Researchers evaluated 78 postmenopausal women averaging 58 years old who had lost weight while dieting. At the end of the study, it was found that 84 percent of the women gained back more than 4.4 pounds on average. After 12 months, 26 percent of fat lost was regained, whereas only six percent of muscle lost was regained. The researchers said long term consequences of their findings are unknown. But in combination with the loss in bone density during aging, the loss of muscle could increase the risk of falling among other things.
Kristen M. Beavers, Ph.D. et al., "Is lost lean mass from intentional weight loss recovered during weight regain in postmenopausal women?", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 12, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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