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Sci-Friday: Dietary study at University of Alaska Fairbanks seeks participants

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 4:59 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a dietary study titled Nutrient Strategies for Metabolic Health and Aging is currently underway. This study is testing the effectiveness of a weight loss and muscle retention dietary supplement, and is looking for participants.

Robert Coker, Professor Institute of Arctic Biology and head of the study explained, “Over the past 10 or 15 years I’ve been really interested in not only improving metabolic health but also helping older individuals retain their muscles as they get older.”

This particular study is seeking to recruit people 60 and 80 years of age, and within a margin of 30 to 40 body mass index, or BMI. This is the measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to human adults.

Coker continued, “What we’re trying to do is find out if the experimental meal replacement that we’ve developed that’s enriched with a specific formula of essential amino acids allows people to keep their muscle but lose excess adipose tissue over the course of a 12 week weight loss, and then a 12 week weight management period.”

Adipose tissue is more commonly known as body fat. Participants at the start of this double blind study will receive either a basic protein rich meal replacement, or the specific weight loss formula.

“It contains all the carbohydrates all the fat, and all the protein that an individual would need within the context of normal daily life,” Coker explained. “We just restrict the calories so they can lose weight during the weight loss period, and then we provide at least one serving per day during the weight management period to see if they can keep that muscle and maintain the improvements in metabolic health.”

In addition to five servings of the meal replacement per day, participants will be able to consume 400 calories of solid food each day. Between the meal replacement and solid food intake, the daily caloric intake expected for participants is approximately 1200 calories per day.

For more information on the study, call (907) 474-7517.

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