Effect of High, Moderate and Low Fat Diets on Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors

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The Fleming Diet Study

Effect of High, Moderate and Low Fat Diets on Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors

A Weight Loss and Health-effects Comparison of 4 Eating Plans: (1) High Fat/ Low Carb Diet; (2) Moderate Fat Diet (Surgeon-General Type Plan); (3) Moderate Fat Diet (Calorie-Controlled); (4) Low Fat Diet

Diet Study Conclusions:

  • The fewer calories consumed, the more weight is lost regardless of what sort of diet one consumes.
  • The High Fat/Low Carb diet followed by the subjects in this study led to negative changes in all cardiovascular risk factors measured.
  • The High Carb/Low Fat protocol led to an improvement in all cardiovascular risk factors.
  • The modest 'middle of the road', Surgeon General/Heart Association type of diet does not lead to much weight loss and makes a negligible impact on cardiovascular risk factors.

Note: Insulin sensitivity was not measured.

The Diet Study

A total of 100 people (53 women and 47 men) were allocated 1 of 4 different diet plans:

High Fat/Low Carb (18 subjects) - 55-65% of caloric intake was in the form of fat calories, 25-30% of intake from protein and less than 100 g's of carbohydrates. Subjects ate until satiated. (The type and sources of fat are not specified) Of the 4 diets this diet most closely resembles an Atkins diet.

Moderate Fat (28 subjects) - This diet is most similar to the diet recommended by the Surgeon General and the American Heart Association. Subjects consumed between 2000-2200 calories a day about 20-30% of which was fat.

Moderate Fat - Calorie Controlled (38 subjects) - Approximately 1500 calories a day. 70% carbohydrates (with an emphasis on complex carbohydrates) 15% protein and 15% fat, with no more than 5 g of saturated fat per day.

Low Fat (16 subjects) - 75% carbohydrates (emphasis on complex carbs), 15% protein and 10% fat. Subjects ate until satiated.

Results of Diet Study

Table 1. Weight Loss Results

  High Fat/
Low Carb
Low Fat Moderate Fat/
Surgeon General
No of Dieters 18 16 28
Av Start Weight 226 pounds 283 pounds 243 pounds
Daily Calorie Intake 1400-1500 1300-1400 2000-2200
Weight Loss (12 mths) 31.2 pounds 52 pounds 6 pounds
Av Weight Loss/week 0.6 pounds 1 pound 1.9oz
% Weight Loss 13.7% 18.6% 2.6%

Table 2. % Change in Possible Coronary Risk Factors

  High Fat/
Low Carb
Low Fat Moderate Fat/
Surgeon General
% Change in
Total Cholesterol
Increase of
4.3%
Decrease of
39.1%
Decrease of
5%
% Change in
LDL Cholesterol
Increase of
6%
Decrease of
52%
Decrease of
6.1%
% Change in
Triglycerides
Increase of
9.8%
Decrease of 45.8% Decrease
of 5.3%
% Change in
Homocysteine
Increase of
12.4%
Decrease of 11.1% Decrease of
9.7%
% Change in
Fibrinogin
Increase of
11.9%
Decrease of
3.3%
Decrease of
0.48%

Sources include:
(1) The effect of High, Moderate and Low Fat Diets on Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Dr R. Fleming. Published, Preventative Cardiology, Summer 2002.
(2) Material and tables adapted from - © Martin Collis, Ph.D.
www.speakwell.com newsletter Fall 2002 Vol iv Issue 3.

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