June 2, 2011

High Fat diet?

(Ivanhoe Newswire)--When considering a weight-loss option, those who are overweight and obese may be able to lose weight without dropping all fat from their diet.

New research conducted by Johns Hopkins was prompted by concerns from people who wanted to include one of the low-carb, high-fat diets, such as Atkins, South Beach, and Zone, as part of their weight-loss program, but were hesitant of diets higher in fat content.

The Hopkins team studied 23 men and women, weighing on average, 218 pounds and was between the ages of 30 and 65. They participated  in a six-month weight-loss program that consisted of moderate aerobic exercise and lifting weights, plus a diet made up of no more than 30 percent of calories from carbohydrates, such as pastas, breads, and sugary fruits.

Research showed low carb dieters showed no harmful vascular changes and on average dropped 10 pounds in 45 days. The low-fat group, whose diets consisted of no more than 30 percent from fats and 55 percent from carbs, took on average nearly a month longer to lose the same amount of weight. However, because the study findings were obtained within three months, the effects of eating a low-carb, higher-fat diet over a longer period of time remain unknown.

"Our study should help allay the concerns that many people who need to lose weight have about choosing a low-carb diet instead of a low-fat one, and provide re-assurance that both types of the diet are effective at weight loss and that a low carb approach does not seem to pose any immediate risk to vascular health. More people should be considering a low-carb diet as a good option," Kerry Stewart, Ed. D., the lead investigator of the new study by heart and vascular researchers, was quoted saying.
An over-emphasis on low-fat diets has likely contributed to the obesity epidemic in the U.S by encouraging an over consumption of foods high in carbs, which in general are less filling and contribute to over eating.

Stewart also says the key to maintaining healthy blood vessels and vascular function seems less about the type of diet and more about keeping a healthy body weight, but one high fat meal will not harm you.

Researchers of the study tested the affects of starting the day with a high fat meal from McDonalds on the body. Study participants' blood vessels were actually less stiff when tested four hours after the meal. "Even consuming a high-fat meal now and then does not seem to cause any immediate harm to the blood vessels," Stewart was quoted saying. However, he cautions against eating too many of these meals because of their high salt and caloric content which may exceed the maximum daily fat intake recommended by the American Heart Association.

SOURCE: American College of Sports and Medicine, June 2011.