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Sarcopenia is an age-related condition involving the gradual loss of muscle mass and strength. Older adults with sarcopenia are at greater risk for frailty, falls, loss of independence, and early death. A 2022 study found that higher dietary fiber intake maintains muscle mass in older adults.

Researchers assessed the physical capabilities (including balance, walking speed, and grip strength) of 981 older adults. They also measured their muscle mass using DEXA. Participants reported their dietary fiber intake and wore accelerometers to track their physical activity.

The DEXA scans revealed that women who consumed more fiber had considerably greater muscle mass than those who ate less. Men who consumed more fiber also had greater muscle mass, but only in those without metabolic syndrome. The associations were consistent even when considering physical activity and protein consumption.

These findings suggest that dietary fiber protects against muscle loss in older adults. Sources of dietary fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. People who follow a lower carbohydrate diet might find getting enough fiber challenging. Dr. Dominic D'Agostino provides some tips on how to get plenty of fiber even when following a ketogenic diet.

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