Dieters decrease heart risk on moderate fat program

Dana Bauer
May 01, 2004

Penn State nutritionists delighted dieters everywhere by touting the health benefits of chocolate and nuts. Now they have more good news: A moderate-fat diet may be better for your heart than a low-fat one. This doesn't mean you can substitute Snickers for bananas, but it might mean having a little peanut butter on your apple.

Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition, and Christine Pelkman, a former research associate at Penn State, compared study participants getting 18 percent of their calories from fat with those getting 33 percent of their calories from fat. The moderate-fat group enjoyed unsaturated fats like nuts and peanut oil in place of more carbohydrates. Over a six-week period, individuals in both groups lost about two pounds a week and reduced their overall cholesterol levels. Participants in the moderate-fat group, however, were able to maintain higher blood levels of so-called "good cholesterol" and lover levels of triglycerides during the weight loss phase and the four-week maintenance phase that followed. Not the low-fat group. Their risk factors for heart disease—including elevated levels of triglycerides—rebounded during the maintenance phase.

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Last Updated May 01, 2004