December 7, 2012
Cutting Fat Out Of Diet Can Help You Lose Weight
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
After a large study, researchers from the University of East Anglia wrote in the British Medical Journal that eating lower fat alternatives will help people shed three-and-a-half pounds, "without dieting."
"The results prove for the first time that weight loss can happen without trying to lose weight — simply by choosing foods lower in fat," the researchers wrote.
The research implies that having a diet that consists of reducing fatty foods could lead to a drop in cancer risk, coronary heart disease and stroke, all conditions that come with an increased risk for those who are overweight or obese.
The study included results from 33 randomized controlled trials, including 73,589 men, women and children.
During the study, researchers made comparisons between those eating less fat than usual and those eating their usual amount of fat. They then measured the effect on weight and waistline after at least six months.
The results show that eating less fat reduces body weight, BMI and waist circumference. All these effects were in trials in which weight loss was not the intended outcome. The weight loss happened quickly and was maintained for at least seven years.
"The weight reduction that we found when people ate less fat was remarkably consistent — we saw it in almost every trial. Those who cut down more on fat, lost more weight," Dr. Lee Hooper from UEA's Norwich Medical School, who led the research, said in a statement.
"The effect isn't dramatic, like going on a diet. The research specifically looked at people who were cutting down on fat, but didn't aim to lose weight — so they were continuing to consume a normal amount of food."
Hooper said that what surprised the team was that they did lose weight, their BMI decreased and their waists became slimmer. Also, they saw that they kept their weight down for over seven years.
"We didn't consider different types of fat in this study," Dr. Hooper said in the statement. "But cutting down on saturated fat reduces our risk of heart disease and strokes, so the healthiest way to cut down on fat is to cut down on saturated fats."
She said having a diet with low-fat milk and yogurt, cutting down on butter and cheese, and cutting the fat off meat could lead to this slimmer waistline.
"Most importantly have fruit instead of fatty snacks like biscuits, cake and crisps. And remember, this isn't a diet, so don't take it to extremes, but work out a way of eating that you can stick to permanently," Hooper said in the statement.
She said being physically active, not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, eating fruit and vegetables, and drinking plenty of fluid helps to stay healthy.
Co-author Prof Carolyn Summerbell, from Durham University, said that a healthy diet is a way of eating that people can sustain over time.
"That's the trick, to find a comfortable way to eat that you can stick to for life which helps you maintain your weight. Cutting down on fat will help," Summerbell said explained. "Doing exercise and being physically active is good for maintaining weight and also has other health benefits, but it's not a replacement for a healthy diet."