Improving Cholesterol Levels.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association concluded that weight loss programs that provide healthy fat, such as olive oil in the Mediterranean diet, or a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet have similar impacts.  Specifically they report that a meal plan high in walnuts, which are high in polyunsaturated fats, has a significant impact on lipid levels for women, and especially those who are insulin resistant. Researchers said “Many diets have said it is okay to eat healthy fats and emphasize olive and canola oils>” “What we found is that a diet high in healthy oils did lower lipids, but it also lowered both good and bad cholesterol. ”

In the study overweight and obese women were enrolled in a one year behavioral weight-loss program, and randomly assigned to one of three diets consisting of either: a low fat and high-carbohydrate diet, a low carbohydrate and high-fat diet, or a walnut-rich, high fat and low-carbohydrate diet. Results showed that all three diets promoted similar weight loss and insulin-sensitivity women lost the most weight with a low-fat diet but that was not the most beneficial diet for lipid levels. The walnut rich diet (polyunsaturated fats) had  the most effect on cholesterol levels by decreasing the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, and increasing beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL). The same results were not seen in the high-fat, low -carbohydrate diet group who had monounsaturated fats. At six months individuals in each group had lost about 8 pounds.

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