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Positive Effects of a Low-Fat, High-Carbohydrate Diet

While not overwhelming, the results of substituting one-quarter of daily fat intake with complex carbohydrates did help overweight people lose some weight and improve their cholesterol levels.

British researchers selected overweight individuals who had increased risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary vascular disease. They studied body weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and blood lipids at the beginning of the test, and at 2, 4, and 6 months. The test subjects received either a control diet, a low-fat, complex carbohydrate diet, or a low-fat, simple carbohydrate diet for six months. Complex carbohydrates include vegetables, grains, and cereals, whereas simple carbohydrates are the simple sugars such as those in fruit.

After six months, weight loss was the greatest in those on the complex carbohydrate diet - 9.4 lbs, with very slight losses in the other two groups. People in that group also showed the greatest improvement in total cholesterol, which decreased by 0.63 mmol/L. There were no significant changes in LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) and a slight decrease in HDL (the "good" cholesterol) in all groups.

Related information: Cholesterol information: Diet | Nutrition Channel - Weight Management

Source:  Poppitt SD, Keogh GF, Prentice AM et al. Long-term effects of ad libitum low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets on body weight and serum lipids in overweight subjects with metabolic syndrome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2002;75:11-20. (Abs.)

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