Whether you follow a diet
high in healthy fats, or low in fat and high in carbohydrates, both are
effective ways of shedding the pounds, finds a new study by the University of
California. However if it's your cholesterol levels that you want to improve, it
is a diet high in fat and rich in walnuts that is most effective.
Wanting to look further into how diet can
affect lipid levels, the levels of fat in the blood which then attach to
proteins to form lipoproteins, also known as cholesterol, the team of researchers
recruited a group of 245 overweight and obese women onto a one-year behavioral
weight loss program.
The group was randomly divided into three
different diet groups; one group followed a low-fat, high-carb diet; another
followed a low-carb and high-fat diet; and the third group followed a high-fat
and low-carb diet which was rich in walnuts, a great source of polyunsaturated
Blood samples were taken from the
participants to measure their cholesterol levels at the beginning of the study and
six months later.
When looking at the data at the six-month
point, the findings showed that all three groups had lost a similar amount of
weight, showing almost 8% weight loss on average.
However when looking specifically at the
participants' cholesterol levels, it was the high fat, low-carb diet that was
rich in walnuts and the polyunsaturated fatty acids that had the most
beneficial effect on the body's lipid levels, lowering the levels of
low-density lipoprotein (LDL), more commonly known as bad cholesterol, and
increasing levels of the beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL).