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Weight Loss Found to Reduce Carotid Artery Wall Thickness

Second study looks at long-term effects of low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets

WEDNESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Weight loss can reduce carotid vessel wall volume and thickness (VWV) and blood pressure, regardless of type of diet followed; and, three years later, most subjects on low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets preserve moderate weight loss despite some regain, according to one study published online March 1 in Circulation, and another study in the March 2 Annals of Internal Medicine.

In the first study, Iris Shai, Ph.D., a registered dietician at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel, and colleagues randomized 140 overweight people to low-fat, Mediterranean, or low-carbohydrate diets. The researchers measured carotid artery intima-media thickness and carotid VWV at baseline and two years later after weight loss. At the end point, they recorded a 5 percent reduction in mean carotid VWV and a 1.1 percent reduction in intima-media thickness with no significant differences among the diets. Subjects with reduced VWV also had decreased blood pressure.

Marion L. Vetter, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues report on a three-year follow-up of a prior study of 132 subjects comparing weight loss for low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets. At 36 months, there had been some weight regain, but the low-carbohydrate group still weighed 2.2 kg less than baseline compared with 4.3 kg less for the low-fat group. Lipids, glycemic control, insulin sensitivity, and dietary intake were not significantly different.

"No significant differences were found in weight change, metabolic outcomes, or dietary intake between the two diet groups at 36 months. Both groups maintained a modest weight loss from baseline," Vetter and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Shai
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Abstract - Vetter
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