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New Study Challenges Harmfulness of High-Fat Diets

Fatty foods have long been the scourge of healthy eaters, but recent research is shaking up the dieting world. A study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggests that a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet can lead to fast weight loss. The results also indicate that this type of diet may not be as damaging to arteries as was once thought.

The study was based on two groups of people who were placed on radically different diets while maintaining the same exercise regimen. One group ate a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet that was modeled after recommendations made by the American Heart Association. The other group was subjected to a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Each group consisted of 23 overweight men and women who were otherwise healthy. Both diets consisted of the same daily caloric intake, which was significantly less than the participants’ normal intake. The participants were also required to complete a moderately demanding exercise program to complement their dieting efforts. The study was conducted by Kerry Stewart, the director of clinical and research exercise psychology at Johns Hopkins. According to Stewart, it took the high-fat dieting group 25 days less than the low-fat group to lose 10 pounds. This difference of 36% provides substantial support to followers of the Atkins diet, who believe that cutting carbohydrates is the key to weight loss.

Although the Atkins diet has displayed that it can be effective, opponents claim that a fatty and meat-rich diet will lead to cardiovascular disease. The subjects of the study regularly had their blood pressure tested using a special device and no noticeable differences were observed between the blood flow of the two groups. The high-fat diet showed no deleterious effects on artery health or signs that this type of diet could lead to heart disease.

Although this may sound like encouraging news, it is important to remember the limitations that accompany this study. Both groups were subjected to significant amounts of exercise, making it impossible to reach any conclusions about the healthiness of a high-fat diet that is not accompanied by exercise. The study was also conducted over a short period of time, and it is possible that a high-fat diet can have unforeseen health consequences that may take years to develop. The data that has been released so far is only a portion of a longer-term study that will monitor the participants in greater depth for a full six months. Hopefully this will result in more significant statistics about how a high-fat diet can impact dieting efforts and cardiovascular health.

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