If your older clients ate as much healthy food as they wanted, would they still lose weight? Possibly, according to a study in the January 26, 2004, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine that examined 34 older men and women with impaired glucose tolerance.

Participants were given 150 percent of their estimated energy needs and told to eat as much as they wanted over a 12-week period. Subjects were placed in one of three groups:

  • a control diet (41 percent fat, 14 percent protein, 45 percent
    carbohydrates, and 7 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories)
  • a high-carbohydrate diet (18 percent fat, 19 percent protein,
    63 percent carbohydrates, and 26 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories)
  • a high-carbohydrate diet plus endurance exercise 4 days a week for
    45 minutes per day at 80 percent peak oxygen consumption

There was no significant difference in the amount of food eaten among the three groups. Both high-carbohydrate groups lost more body weight and a higher percentage of body fat than the control group. The high-carbohydrate-only group lost 3.2 kilograms (kg), or 7.1 pounds (lb), and 2.2 percent fat; and the high-carbohydrate-plus-exercise group lost 4.8 kg (10.6 lb) and 3.5 percent fat. Meanwhile, the control group lost only 0.1 kg (.2 lb) and 0.2 percent fat. High-carbohydrate intake and weight loss did not result in a decreased resting metabolic rate or reduced fat oxidation.