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Following a Healthy Diet May Provide Long Term Heart Health Benefits

A study published in 2008 indicated that both the Mediterranean diet and a low-carbohydrate diet may be just as effective as a low-fat diet for long-term weight loss. A follow up to that study suggests that the beneficial effects of these diets on blood lipid profiles may continue, even if the individual stops dieting later and gains weight.

Blood lipid is a term for fat in the blood stream and it is measured with a blood lipid profile test. The test measures total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

The researchers followed up with the 322 obese participants of the original study. They found that even the individuals who had regained some weight had lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as lower incidences of arteriosclerosis. This suggests that these diets are beneficial for heart health.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Nuclear Research Centre in Israel. It was published on October 4, 2012, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Mediterranean diet is typical of people who live in the European countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The diet is rich in vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains and healthy oils.

Previous research has shown that the Mediterranean diet may improve heart health, lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, asthma, lower rates of obesity and even decrease the overall risk of mortality.

A low-carbohydrate diet has been associated with weight loss, improved triglyceride levels, increased HDL (good) cholesterol and reduced blood pressure.

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