A new study has reported that a Mediterranean diet, a low-fat diet and a low carbohydrate diet are all effective in assisting obese people to reverse the effects of arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is a slow and progressive process in which a plaque buildup in the arteries causes them to thicken. This leads to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The study was carried out by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Nuclear Research Center and Soroka Hospital in Israel. The research compared the effects of the three diets among overweight participants who were at high risk of arteriosclerosis. Researchers studied 140 people (88 percent men, average age 51, average body mass index 30.4 kg/m2) from the Nuclear Research Center Negev Apart from the reduction of thickening in the arteries, participants in the diets also showed greater weight loss, a reduction in blood pressure and an increase in apolipoprotein A1 (Apo A1) which is a major component of “good” cholesterol.
The study says that the findings highlight the potential of diet as a lifestyle strategy to promote better cardiovascular health. Rather than the nutrient content of the three diets, it was the sustained and moderate weight loss that led to the improvements.”Long-term adherence to weight-loss diets is effective for reversing carotid atherosclerosis as long as we stick to one of the current options of healthy diet strategy,” said Iris Shai, R.D., and Ph.D.
Even though weight-loss medication such as Xenical is available, it is clear that other common sense precautions such as diet and moderate weight loss are also effective strategies in reversing the progress of arteriosclerosis.