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Just Lowering Fat Intake Can Shed Pounds, Study Finds
Date:12/7/2012

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The key to a slimmer figure is not necessarily dieting, but just cutting back on fat intake, a new British study suggests.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia found that simply replacing high-fat foods with low-fat alternatives helped people lose roughly 3.5 pounds. Reducing fat intake also resulted in lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels. The study authors suggested that the findings may play a critical role in global dietary recommendations, because being overweight or obese increases the risk for many cancers, heart disease and stroke.

The study was published Dec. 7 in the journal BMJ.

The researchers reviewed 33 randomized, controlled trials in North America, Europe and New Zealand that involved over 73,500 men, women and children with a variety of health histories. A randomized, controlled study is one in which people are randomly assigned to different groups: one group receives the treatment and the other does not receive the treatment (the "control" group).

For at least six months, the investigators compared the weight and waistline measurements of those who cut back on their fat intake with the same measurements of those who did not alter their eating habits.

In addition to losing weight, the study found that eating less fat reduced the participants' body mass index (BMI, a measurement of body fat based on height and weight) and waist circumference slightly. The researchers pointed out that none of the participants were dieting or trying to lose weight, and they added that the weight came off quickly and wasn't regained for at least seven years.

"The weight reduction that we found when people ate less fat was remarkably consistent -- we saw it in almost every trial. Those who cut down more on fat, lost more weight," study leader Dr. Lee Hooper, from the university's Norwich Medical School, said in a journal news release. <
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