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Heart Healthy Diets Promote Weight Loss

If you want to lose weight, a heart healthy diet plan that reduces the amount of calories can result in a healthy weight loss that can be maintained. It does not seem to make a difference what the proportions of protein, fat and carbohydrates are, according to a new study.

Heart healthy diets that focus on reducing intake of calories can help people to lose weight and keep the weight off. Overweight an obese people can lose weight and maintain a healthy weigh by following a heart healthy plan. According to the National Institute of Health, this is true regardless of differing proportions of carbohydrate, protein and fat.

A study about the topic was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) which is part of the National Institutes of Health. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, February 26, 2009.

Researchers from Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies (POUNDS LOST) conducted a study and found that the results were similar in four different diets.

Study participants were assigned to four different diets with differing proportions of three of the major nutrients. The diets were all heart health and had the same calorie reduction goals. The diets were low in cholesterol and saturated fat. The diets were high in fiber.

The average weight loss was 13 pounds at six months. Participants maintained a nine pound loss and the two year mark. Their waistlines were reduced by 1 to 3 inches.

Symptoms of fullness, craving, hunger and diet satisfaction were reportedly similar in all four diets.

The Director of NHLBI, Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. stated that the results show that there is more than one nutritional approach to attaining and maintaining healthy weight. As long as a heart healthy, reduced calorie diet is followed, people can lose weight. This finding allows people who want to lose weight with a choice of diets. This choice allows people to choose a plan that fits their preferences.

The POUNDS LOST study followed 811 overweigh adults who were assigned one of four diets. The participants were asked to keep a diary of food intake. Personalized calorie goals ranged from 1,200 to 2,400 calories a day. All of the study participants were asked to exercise at a moderate level for at least 90 minutes a week.

Four Diets Composition

1. Low-fat, average protein: consisted of 20 percent fat, 15 percent protein and 65 percent carbohydrate
2. Low-fat, high protein: consisted of 20 percent fat, 25 percent protein and 55 percent carbohydrate
3. High-fat, average protein: consisted of 40 percent fat, 15 percent protein, and 45 percent carbohydrate.
4. High-fat, high-protein: consisted of 40 percent fat, 25 percent protein, 35 percent carbohydrate

Researcher noted that while this study asked participants to exercise for 90 minutes a week, most people need more physical activity than that to lose weight.

Previous research has shown that risk of heart disease and other medical condition can be reduced with a loss of 5 to 10 percent of body weight. In this study, 15 percent of the people had a 10 percent loss of weigh after two years.

The new information shows that people who want to lose weight should reduce caloric intake instead of any particular proportions of carbohydrate, protein and fat. This information is important for health professionals who are recommending a weight loss plan for patients; according to a statement by Frank M. Sacks, M.D. the principal investigator of POUNDS LOST. Sacks is the Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in the Nutrition Department at Harvard School of Public Health.

Resources:

National Institute of Health: Heart Healthy, Reduced-Calorie Diets Promote Long-term Weight Loss. Regardless of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrate Content. Press Release dated February 24, 2009.

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Dr. Oz Tells the Truth About Food on Oprah

Mayo Clinic Diet: Lifestyle Changes for Good Health and Weight Loss

Heart Benefits from a High Fiber Diet

Dash Diet for Heart Health: Prevent High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

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