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Add walnuts to your diet to improve cholesterol levels finds new study

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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 fatty acids.

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).

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