Not a high-fat diet, but eating certain types of fat may up your weight: Study

It is a common notion that a high-fat diet makes a person to put on weight. But a new study would like to differ by unveiling that such is not the case. In fact, if you focus on eating certain types of fats then it may take the tip of weighing scale upwards.

Researchers have affirmed that a diet rich in dietary fats and vegetables like the one in Mediterranean diet, does not lead to weight gain. In the study, the researchers have looked at data on people who took part in the PREDIMED trial, a five-year study carried out in Spain.

In the study, the effects of Mediterranean diet on heart health were assessed. There were almost 7,500 elderly in the study and majority of them were overweight or obese. They were either having type-2-diabetes or three risk factors for heart disease.

The participants were asked to follow one of the three diets- a Mediterranean diet having extra four tablespoons of extra- virgin olive oil each day; a Mediterranean diet with at least three servings of nuts every week or a control diet.

The diets having olive oil and nuts were having high amount of fat, but it was monounsaturated fat, which is considered to be good for health. After five years, people in the olive oil group had lost statistically significant amount of weight than the ones in the control group. They lost about 1 lb more than the ones in the control.

In the case of nut group also, participants lost a small but significant amount of weight than control group. But the difference between the olive oil group and the nut was not statistically significant. The researchers said that in order to maintain a certain body weight, there is a need to balance the calories you consume versus the calories you burn.

“The Mediterranean diet, rich in healthy fats and plant proteins, has been linked in previous studies to a wide range of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes — two conditions that are also linked to obesity,” according to a news report published by Live Science.

The researchers found that after five years, the people in the olive oil group had lost a small but statistically significant amount of weight, compared to the control group: The people in the olive oil group lost about 1 lb. (0.4 kilograms) more, on average, than those in the control group. The people in the nut group also lost a small amount of weight as well, compared to the control group. However, the difference between the olive oil group and the nut group was not statistically significant (meaning it could have been due to chance).

According to a story published on the topic by The Guardian, “Fear of fat is misplaced and guidelines that restrict it in our diets are wrong, say the Spanish researchers who have followed more than 7,000 people, some eating 30g of nuts or 50ml of extra virgin olive oil a day while others were put on a standard low-fat diet. Their research, they say, should put healthy fats – from vegetables and fish – back on the menu, changing attitudes and the way we eat.”

More than 90% of those who took part, aged between 55 and 80, were obese or overweight. Weight loss was not substantial, but was greatest in the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group – 0.88kg compared with 0.60kg on the low-fat diet. All the groups increased their waist measurement, which tends to happen as people age, but the smallest increase was among those eating a Mediterranean diet with added nuts (0.37cm compared with 1.2cm in the low-fat group).

A report published in Time News revealed, “The group of 7,447 middle-aged men and women, who were at higher risk of having heart problems because they had type 2 diabetes or other heart-related risk factors, were mostly overweight or obese. Those who were told to adopt a Mediterranean diet, which contains more fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins like fish, also added either olive oil or nuts to their diet, but they did not restrict the number of calories they ate. The control group was told to eat a low-fat diet and also weren’t limited in the amount of calories they ate daily.”

The Spanish researchers found that people on the Mediterranean diet also ate more vegetables, fruit and fish and consumed less meat and dairy products than those on the low-fat diet. That could explain why, even though they weren’t told to eat fewer calories, the people in the Mediterranean group tended to lose slightly more weight than those in the low-fat group.

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