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High saturated fat, starch avoidance weight loss diet offers good preliminary results

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- In the quest for an effective weight loss diet that also is nutritionally complete, researchers in the November issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings report preliminary weight loss results of a regimen that is similar to the Atkins diet that are encouraging, but merit further, broader study.

Researchers from Cardiology Research at Christiana Care Health Services, Inc., in Newark, Del., report patients on a high saturated fat and avoidance of starch diet similar to the Atkins diet experienced 5 percent weight loss after six weeks without adverse effects. The Atkins diet is noted for its high-fat and carbohydrate restrictions, which have been shown to result in weight loss.

James Hays, M.D., of the Christiana Care Health Services, Inc. the primary investigator, said the study came about after researchers noted that patients with atherosclerosis or diabetes were also experiencing weight loss with a diet they were prescribing for treatment of the chronic disease.

"For the last eight years, we have been concentrating on dietary treatment of the chronic diseases diabetes and atherosclerosis and have ended up prescribing to patients a diet high in saturated fat much like what Dr. Atkins has advocated for weight loss," Dr. Hays says. "A consistent calorie intake is helpful in treatment of diabetes, so we have prescribed a consistent intake of certain fruits and vegetables rather than Dr. Atkins' step-wise approach and this may have resulted in some other differences."

Although further studies remain to be done, it might be possible to find an optimum diet that results in weight loss, promotes longevity and contains a lot of saturated fat, Dr. Hays said. The Atkins diet relies on ketosis, the decrease in appetite related to the caloric intake. However no long-term studies have determined whether there is a risk of cardiovascular disease.

Others who contributed to the study include Angela DiSabatino; Robert Gorman, Ph.D.;
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Contact: John Murphy
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
11-Nov-2003


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