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Post-menopause women might consider four specific eating behaviors to support weight loss over the long term, according to new research.

The study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh was published in the September issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Senior WomanThe study looked at both short- and long-term weight changes in nearly 500 overweight women in their late 50s. Over the long-term – four years, in terms of this study – those who decreased desserts, sugary beverages, and cheeses and meats (which were grouped together) and increased fruits and vegetables did best. Meanwhile, while eating fewer desserts and fried foods, drinking fewer sugary beverages, eating more fish and eating out less were linked with more weight loss over the short-term – six months – these behaviors (and the resultant weight loss) were not typically maintained long term. This finding suggests that some behaviors aren’t typically maintained long-term.

The long-term changes in diet and weight were small. An increase in one’s fruits and vegetables by two servings a day was associated with a three-pound weight loss at the end of four years (as was decreasing sugary beverages by 16 ounces daily).

Older women often blame their weight gain on a slower metabolism, but experts say the process is more complicated than that. As people age, their amount of muscle declines and their amount of body fat rises, so they burn fewer calories. This means that ultimately it is not your metabolism speed that determines if you are too heavy, but the amount you eat and how much activity you get.

 

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