By Rick Pantaleo – British scientists have found you can lose weight without dieting – by replacing high-fat foods with their low-fat counterparts.

Writing in the British Medical Journal,  researchers from the University of East Anglia found that people who switched out high-fat foods with low-fat substitutes lost about 1.6 kg over six months without any additional dieting.

They also found lowering fat in your diet provides additional health advantages, such as lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels.

The researchers believe their findings could play a role in dietary recommendations to help in the worldwide battle against obesity. The WHO and other public health organizations say obesity is a major risk factor for high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseasediabetes, some cancers and musculoskeletal disorders, such as the highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints, osteoarthritis.

A display of high fat foods such as cheeses, chocolates, lunch meat, french fries, pastries, doughnuts, etc. (Photo: US National Cancer Institute)

Looking to update its guidelines on total fat intake, the WHO recently commissioned a study to evaluate the relationship between the amount of fat and fatty products  consumed in daily diets and various indicators of body fatness such as total weight, waist size and/or body mass index (BMI).

For their study, the researchers evaluated 33 trials in North America, Europe and New Zealand, involving 73,589 participants of various ages and states of health.

Researchers compared the waistline measurements and weight of participants who ate a reduced-fat diet with those whose diet included the usual amounts of fat for at least six months.

Along with the loss of 1.6 kg of bodyweight, they also found that the participants reduced their total BMI by 0.56kg/m² – kg per square meter -and cut their waist circumference by 0.5cm.

Wondering if the weight reduction by those in the group that consumed few fats was due in part to the additional time, attention and support they received, compared to those in the normal fat intake group, researchers looked to studies where both groups were given equal time and attention and found that the weight reduction did not disappear suggesting that the weight loss was really due to lower fat intake.

“The effect isn’t dramatic, like going on a diet. The research specifically looked at people who were cutting down on fat, but didn’t aim to lose weight, so they were continuing to consume a normal amount of food,” said Dr. Lee Hooper, who led the research. “What surprised us was that they did lose weight, their BMI decreased and their waists became slimmer. On top of this, they kept their weight down over at least seven years. There isn’t a specific goal, the more fat you cut down, the more your weight falls.”

 

Science World is VOA’s on-air and online magazine covering science, health, technology and the environment. Hosted by Rick Pantaleo, Science World‘s informative, entertaining and easy-to-understand presentation offers the latest news, features and one-on-one interviews with researchers, scientists, innovators and other news makers.

Comments

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20 COMMENTS

  1. If weight loss or maintenance is also one of your goals, don’t use this as an open license to eat a lot more, especially junk food, than you normally would. You’d be surprised how much walking you have to do to offset a Krispy Kreme donut.

  2. Researchers compared the waistline measurements and weight of participants who ate a reduced-fat diet with those whose diet included the usual amounts of fat for at least six months.

  3. It's my personal experience that calorie deficits are easier to create from the diet than they are from working out. It has been mentioned in this thread that you need to walk for a long time to burn off a donut. And it's true. Those things are packed with low quality calories that won't do anything but make you fat. Whenever I want to burn fat, I simply go on a fruit & veggy shake diet for a couple of weeks. The pounds come flying off that way.

  4. I’ve never been a huge fan of these “lose weight quickly” type articles. The problem with most of the methods is that, most people end up putting the weight straight back on.
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    However, remember there are no shortcuts or magical secrets to a great body – it’s simply a result of hard-work and not giving up!
    Too many people try to change their diet and life styles overnight, but it is really setting yourself up for failure. Adopting changes more slowly is the key to long term success. العاب ماريو

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