High fat, no-starch diet doesn't raise cholesterol
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Nov 17 - In a study of patients with atherosclerosis following a high fat, no-starch diet, similar to the Atkins diet, for 6 weeks produced weight loss without adversely affecting lipid levels.
The study, which is reported in the November issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, involved 23 obese patients with documented atherosclerotic heart disease. All of the patients were treated with statins, but no drug or dose changes were made during the study.
During the 6-week trial, the subjects were instructed to consume half of their calories as saturated
fat. Other food sources were permitted with the exception of starches.
The test diet was associated with a significant 5.2% drop in both total body weight and in body fat percentage, lead author Dr. James H. Hays and colleagues, from Christiana Care Health Services in Newark, Delaware, note.
No changes in LDL or HDL cholesterol levels were observed with the diet, but both HDL and LDL size did increase
, the authors note. Moreover, the diet was tied to a significant reduction in total triglyceride levels and various VLDL levels
The test diet also appeared safe in patients with certain obesity-related conditions. In studies involving patients with polycystic ovary syndrome or reactive hypoglycemia and up to 52 weeks of follow-up, the authors found that the diet produced significant weight loss without an adverse effect on serum lipids.
A high saturated fat, no starch diet "results in weight loss after 6 weeks without adverse effects on serum lipid levels...and further weight loss with a lipid-neutral effect may persist for up to 52 weeks," the investigators note.
"I recommend that we keep an open mind regarding the role of the Atkins diet and continue to study its metabolic effects," Dr. Gerald T. Gau, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, comments in a related editorial. At the same time, however, "we should continue to examine the risk-benefit profiles of caloric-restricted, more rational diets," he adds.
Mayo Clin Proc 2003;78:1331-1336.
link to original study report
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