Key to long-term weight loss for post-menopausal women may be more fruits and vegetables

August 30, 2012

(CBS News) Post-menopausal women often have a hard time losing weight. But, promising new research shows that there may be simple dietary considerations that may help shed pounds – and keep them off for good.
What’s on the list of foods to avoid and items to chow down on? It’s relatively simple: Eating less sugar, meats and cheeses and consuming more fruits and vegetables were shown to help long-term weight loss.

“With more than one-third of all Americans considered obese, it’s clear that standard behavioral obesity treatment is producing poor long-term results,” lead investigator Bethany Barone Gibbs, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s department of health and physical activity, said in the university press release. “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.”

Traditionally, women are told to watch their calorie intake to lose weight, which may not be sustainable for long periods of time. Because post-menopausal women have a natural energy expenditure decline, it’s even harder for them to lose and maintain weight.

“Not only does motivation decrease after you start losing weight, there are physiological changes, including a decreased resting metabolic rate,” Gibbs said in the news release. “Appetite-related hormones increase. Researchers studying the brain are now finding that you have enhanced rewards and increased motivation to eat when you’ve lost weight.”

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