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High Fat, No-Starch Diet
Doesn't Raise Cholesterol

Patients with atherosclerosis lose weight on a high fat, no-starch Atkins-style followed for 6 weeks, without increasing their blood fat (lipid) levels.

Those results come from a study involving 23 obese patients with documented atherosclerotic heart disease. All of the patients were being treated with cholesterol-lowering "statin" drugs, but no changes were made to their drugs or the dosing during the study.

The participants were instructed to consume half of their calories as saturated fat for 6 weeks. Other food sources were permitted with the exception of starches, according to a report in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings medical journal.

The people on the test diet dropped a significant 5.2 percent of their total body weight and reduced their body fat percentage by a similar amount, note Dr. James H. Hays and colleagues, from Christiana Care Health Services in Newark, Delaware.

No changes in LDL ("bad") or HDL ("good") cholesterol levels were observed with the diet, and it was tied to a significant reduction in total triglyceride levels.

The 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 Hays' team notes.

"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, he recommends that the value of "more rational diets" should continue to be studied.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic Proceedings, November 2003.


Reference Source 89

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