Weight loss programs that provide healthy fats, such as olive oil in the Mediterranean diet, or a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet have similar impacts on pound-shedding, a new study shows.
University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers report that a meal plan rich in walnuts, which are high in polyunsaturated fats, has a significant impact on lipid levels for women, especially those who are insulin-resistant.
Overweight and obese adult women were enrolled in a one-year behavioral weight loss program and randomly assigned to one of three diets consisting of either: low-fat and high-carbohydrate; low-carbohydrate and high-fat; or a walnut-rich, high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet.
The findings showed that all three dietary plans promoted similar weight loss. Insulin-sensitive women lost the most weight with a low-fat diet but that strategy did not result in the most benefit for lipid levels.
The walnut-rich diet had the most impact on cholesterol levels by decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, and increasing beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL). The high-fat, low-carb group, which consumed monounsaturated fats, did not experience the same beneficial effects as the walnut-rich diet, which featured polyunsaturated fatty acids. Researchers noted that even though diet composition impacts lipid levels the critical factor in weight loss continues to be burning more calories than you consume.
Ref: J Am Heart Assoc. 2016 Jan 25;5(1). pii: e002771. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.115.002771.