Lowering body fat is an important step to healthy longevity. Instead of focusing on “weight loss,” consider your body composition. Body fat assessment, rather than weight, is the best way to approach healthy longevity.
Even if you didn’t gain weight as you entered middle age, you probably noticed a shift in where your weight is deposited. Generally, men and women lose muscle and gain fat as they age, even if they do not actually gain weight. This shift is caused by a combination of factors. First, inactivity causes muscle loss. Add to that, the hormone decline in mid-life which adds to the muscle loss and causes fat deposition around the abdomen. Changes in our intestinal bacterial function contribute to gaining fat. Low levels of essential nutrients like vitamin D contribute to fat gain also.
WHAT TO DO:
Improving body composition is done with a combination of the right diet, the right nutrients, and the right support. The most important dietary change is a reduction and eventual elimination of carbohydrates, especially refined ones like white flour and sugar. Carbohydrates stimulate our bodies to lay down fat for the lean times, even though we don’t have lean times in modern developed societies.
Vitamin D is an important part of metabolic regulation. Studies have shown low Vitamin D levels correlated with higher body fat measurements. In addition, some studies show increased fat loss when Vitamin D is given to participants in a weight loss study.
Probiotics are beneficial intestinal bacteria which are found in supplement form. They aid weight loss. They have been studied in humans and animals. What is becoming clear is the role that our intestinal bacteria have in body fat and weight. Pregnant women given probiotics gave birth to infants who were less likely to be obese in childhood. A 2010 study in adults showed lower abdominal fat and visceral (inside the abdomen) fat when probiotics were given.
Weight gain and fat gain are due to many causes. A multi-pronged approach to treatment with diet, activity and supplements is the one most likely to be successful.