Cutting Calories and Metabolic Syndrome

For those who need to work on their weight, no matter male or female, adding calorie restriction to a resistance training schedule sustains at least some metabolic markers, according to recent research findings. Even if resistance training alone seemed to have no result on so-called metabolic syndrome - a group of markers associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disorders - the workout is still imperative for maintaining bone and muscle in older individuals, researchers explain.

"The results are not actually surprising as it is not easy to maintain the cardiometabolic profile with resistance workout only," says lead author Eve Normandin of Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


"Some middle-aged adults concentrated researches do see some improvements following resistance training but not a lot in older adults," Normandin told Reuters Health by email. Metabolic syndrome is the expression for a cluster of symptoms, such as: abdominal obesity, high cholesterol level and triglycerides, high blood pressure, inflammation and impaired processing of insulin.


Seniors are at the very serious risk of having metabolic syndrome, Normandin and her partners reported so in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Previous studies have revealed that weight loss can aid reverse metabolic syndrome, so can aerobic workout with or without dieting.

But most of these studies have focused on middle aged people, the authors write. In the five-month trial, 63 overweight or obese adults aged 65 to 79 years who followed “inactive” lifestyle were allocated to a progressive resistance training regime three times per week while 63 similar adults were assigned to the same program plus calorie control.

The resistance training program was individually designated to participants and usually included three sets of 10 reps for eight exercises at each workout session. The calorie restriction group was also followed an eating plan including meal replacements, nutrition learning and behavior change advice delivered at weekly meetings with a registered specialist on diet. Participants were assigned to achieve a day by day caloric goal and kept a diet log of all foods eaten.

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In general, those doing only resistance training could not cut any weight by the end of the trial, but participants also limiting their calories lost an average of 6 percent of their body weight as well as particularly lowering fat around the abdomen. The calorie restricted group also reduced their blood pressure, triglycerides and one of the "bad" types of cholesterol, extremely low density lipoprotein.

No changes were seen in metabolic syndrome markers in the group doing only resistance training. "Numerous studies have concluded reporting that lowering calories is pivotal to changing the health impacts this study concentrate on - cholesterol, triglycerides, obesity, and insulin resistance," says Dr. Anne McTiernan of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

"More researches have revealed some benefit on these when contrasting training to no training (whether aerobic or resistance workout), but lowering calories regularly surpasses exercise effects," says McTiernan, who wasn't involved with the new learning. "I wouldn't say that caloric control is the only method to deal with metabolic syndrome," Normandin explains. "Resistance training is one form of exercise; we might have seen progress in metabolic syndrome following an aerobic workout." Resistance training has positive impacts on muscle and physical functioning which can sustain body composition, muscle strength and physical function in older adults who were overweight or obese, she says.

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"Those who are 65 years and older, have the metabolic syndrome and are overweight or obese should gradually intend to cut weight by restricting calories," Normandin said. "My recommendation is to add strength training in older individuals with metabolic syndrome to protect musculoskeletal health and function as well." "Individuals can start following a caloric restriction plan without consulting a doctor but I would recommend to double check with a registered expert on dieting prior to that" she said. "This is particularly factual for those who have one or more long-term health conditions."


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