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Moderate-Fat Diet May Be Better at Reducing Heart Risks
Date:11/16/2009

People with metabolic syndrome should steer clear of low-fat meal plans, study says

MONDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A moderate-fat diet may work better than a low-fat regimen for people suffering from metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions putting them at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, new research finds.

"This is a good study that essentially confirms that the current recommendations are appropriate," said Alice Lichtenstein, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association (AHA). "Since 2000, the AHA has been recommending not a low-fat diet, but one that is low in saturated fats and trans fatty acids."

People with metabolic syndrome are glucose-intolerant, meaning they can't process blood sugar well. Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets exacerbate this condition, Lichtenstein explained.

To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have three or more of the following risk factors for heart disease: belly fat, high triglycerides, low good cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.

The study was among several to be presented Monday at the AHA's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle randomized 71 men and women with metabolic syndrome into one of two diet arms, the first made up of 40 percent fat, 45 percent carbohydrate and 15 percent protein (the moderate-fat diet) and the other, the low-fat diet, containing 20 percent fat, 65 percent carbs and 15 percent protein. Saturated fat content was about 8 percent in each, and each had about the same amount of fiber.

Levels of LDL (or "bad") cholesterol fell 3.4 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) on the low-fat diet compared with 11.6 mg/dL on the moderate-fat plan. HDL (or "good") cholesterol also fell, by 4.9 mg/dL on the low-fat plan and by 1.9 mg/dL on the other.

C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation linked to heart disease, fell more in the lo
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