Weight Loss May Reverse Artery Clogging, Study Suggests

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By Anne Harding

Monday, March 1, 2010 (Health.com) — Eating the incorrect meals and gaining an excessive amount of weight can clog arteries with fatty deposits, probably resulting in life-threatening coronary heart assaults and strokes. A brand new examine suggests this course of works each methods: Eating wholesome and dropping pounds may very well reverse—fairly than merely decelerate—the buildup of those fatty deposits, a situation often known as atherosclerosis.

In the examine, middle-aged folks with coronary heart illness or diabetes who misplaced greater than 12 kilos over a two-year interval efficiently diminished the scale of the deposits (or plaques) clogging their arteries, fairly than merely halting their progress.

What’s extra, the kind of weight-reduction plan the examine members adopted did not appear to make a distinction, so long as they misplaced weight. A low-carb, low-fat, or Mediterranean-style weight-reduction plan all had constructive results on artery well being, based on the examine, which was revealed within the journal Circulation.

Most research which have examined the impact of weight reduction on atherosclerosis have additionally concerned placing folks on highly effective medicine like cholesterol-lowering statins, says James O’Keefe, MD, the director of preventive cardiology on the Mid-America Heart Institute, in Kansas City, Mo.

“This [study] is just relying on diet alone and got very impressive results, as good as you see with drugs,” says Dr. O’Keefe, who was not concerned within the present analysis.

The examine checked out 140 folks in Israel between the ages of 40 and 65 who had been at the very least reasonably chubby and had coronary heart illness or sort 2 diabetes. In addition to following one of many three diets, 20% of the members took a statin, and roughly 30% took blood-pressure remedy.

After two years on a weight-reduction plan, roughly two-thirds of the examine members had much less clogging of their neck arteries than when the examine started. (Although the carotid artery within the neck is just not liable for coronary heart assaults, its situation would seemingly be just like that of the coronary arteries, that are tougher to picture, the researchers say.) The quantity of the plaques of their neck arteries declined by about 5%, on common, or barely greater than the common annual enhance in folks with atherosclerosis, as different research have proven.

People who had higher weight reduction and discount in blood stress tended to have more healthy arteries, the researchers discovered. The folks whose arteries turned much less clogged misplaced about 12 kilos, on common, whereas their systolic blood stress (the highest quantity) fell by round 7 factors. By distinction, the folks whose atherosclerosis worsened misplaced simply 7 kilos, on common, and diminished their systolic blood stress by simply 1 level. (The use of statins didn’t appear to be a big issue, the researchers reported.)

“Long-term adherence to weight-loss diets are effective for reversing carotid atherosclerosis as long as we stick to one of the current options of healthy diet strategy, [and] even if we experience some partial weight re-gain over time,” says the examine’s lead writer, Iris Shai, PhD, a registered dietitian and researcher in cardiovascular epidemiology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Beer-Sheva, Israel.

In a earlier paper, revealed within the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008, the identical group of researchers reported that the three diets used within the examine had been equally more likely to result in weight reduction.

Both the low-fat and Mediterranean diets restricted each day calorie consumption to 1,500 for ladies and 1,800 for males. In addition, each emphasised grains, greens, fruits, and legumes, and reducing down on high-fat snacks and sweets. The folks on the Mediterranean weight-reduction plan had been additionally instructed to eat 30 to 45 grams of olive oil and a handful of nuts every single day.

Men and ladies on the low-carb, Atkins-style weight-reduction plan didn’t have to limit their calorie consumption, however they had been restricted to 20 grams of carbs per day for the primary two months of the examine, regularly rising their consumption to 120 grams each day.

Alice Lichtenstein, PhD, a professor of diet science and coverage at Tufts University, in Boston, says that the brand new findings affirm what consultants have been saying for years. “Weight loss improves cardiovascular health,” says Lichtenstein. “The way you lose the weight isn’t the critical factor; the critical factor is actually that you lose the weight.”

The three diets featured within the examine aren’t the one option to drop some pounds, Lichtenstein provides. “Different people will adhere to different types of approaches to restrict calories,” she says. “Some will do well if they cut fat out of the diet; some will do well if they have a higher fat content and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.”

The one sort of weight-reduction plan Lichtenstein does not suggest is fad diets. “You don’t need folks to go off on these actually wild or excessive diets as a result of historical past suggests folks don’t stick with them,” she says.

Losing weight is simpler stated than performed, in fact. The examine members had entry to sources that almost all dieters don’t. They met usually with dietitians, they usually selected their lunches from a collection of meals labeled with their calorie, carb, and fats content material.

Following the same routine by yourself can be tough, says Shai. In reality, she says, most individuals would want a dietitian’s assist to stay to any of the three weight-loss approaches.

Dr. O’Keefe agrees. While some folks can obtain lasting weight reduction on their very own, he says, they are going to be extra more likely to succeed in the event that they get some skilled assist. “People tend to sort of fall off the diet with time,” he says. “If it’s continually reinforced, if they have a lot of feedback, they tend to do better.”

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