The mantra that heart disease is a direct result of eating fat is now deeply entrenched.
For years, health gurus have proclaimed the secret to skinny bodies and healthy hearts, is a low fat diet. Weight loss programmes that broke these rules, were labelled fad diets and warnings were sounded about their health merits.
Those with a slightly rebellious streak, have successfully broken the fat rule, but for many, the belief that adopting a high fat diet was the scenic route to a heart attack, has kept them caught in oversized bodies.
Researchers at John Hopkins, decided to check whether low carbohydrate, high fat diets were really putting the heart at risk.
Dieters’ vascular health on trial
Some seriously podgy people were signed up for a 6 month weight loss programme. Everyone was expected to do a little exercise and calories were restricted.
So the weight formula was tipped for weight loss because
Calories in < calories out
The actual calories were manipulated to create
- the classic diet – low fat (30%), high carbohydrate (55%) and
- an alternative diet – high fat (40%), low carbohydrate (30%)
In addition to monitoring weight loss, the researchers also monitored vascular health. They used two different tests – the finger tip test which assesses how well blood is flowing and the augmentation index, which measures arterial stiffness (damaged blood vessels don’t bend too well).
Low carb dieters performed best
In terms of weight loss, the low carb dieters beat the high carb dieters. Both groups did lose weight, but it took 45 days for the low carb dieters to lose an average of 10 pounds (4.5 kg) while the high carb guys had to diet for 70 days, to shed 10 pounds (4.5 kgs).
There was absolutely no evidence that the high fat diet, followed by the low carb dieters, caused any damage to the blood vessels.
Low carb diets a better option
So if you have a few extra pounds to lose – be a little rebellious. Add meat, dairy products and nuts to your plate and ditch the bread and pasta.
You won’t find it too difficult to stick to the plan, since you are less likely to suffer from hunger pangs. As long as you get the overall formula right i.e.
Calories in < calories out
You will lose weight, which is already a major plus for vascular health and the high fat food won’t clog your arteries in the short term.The above story is based on a press release fromJohn Hopkins Medical Institutions titled Low-Carb, Higher-Fat Diets Add No Arterial Health Risks to Obese People Seeking to Lose Weight
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