Heart Disease Expert Forum
Study Results Concerning Low-fat Diets
About This Forum:

This forum is for questions and support regarding heart issues such as: Angina, Angioplasty, Arrhythmia, Bypass Surgery, Cardiomyopathy, Coronary Artery Disease, Defibrillator, Heart Attack, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Mitral Valve Prolapse, Pacemaker, PAD, Stenosis, Stress Tests.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Study Results Concerning Low-fat Diets

I've read a study performed at Tuft's University concerning diets and cardiovascular health.
They specifically studied the ultra low-fat(Ornish) diet compared to the low-carb (Atkins type diet).

I was surprised to read that they found that the Ornish, ultra low fat diet actually RAISED cardiovascular risk, in accordance with the Framingham guidelines, due to the fact that this type of diet has a tendency to DECREASE HDL, even though it lowers LDL, and the low-carb diet RAISES HDL, thereby making for a more favorable HDL/LDL ratio,

I am having a tough time believing this, and in fact, proponents of the ultra low-fat diet say the study is somewhat flawed, because according to Ornish, by being on a low-fat diet, LDL is lowered so much, that less HDL is actually needed to transport LDL from the arteries. (He actually uses an anaolgy of LDL as garbage and HDL as garbage trucks:  The less garbage(LDL)....the less garbage trucks(HDL) needed.)

I enjoy an ultra low-fat (<10 % fat) lifestyle, however I'm now wondering if I am hindering my heart-health by eating this way.
Is a low LDL more important than a very high HDL?  Right now, I seem to be OK with an LDL of 113 and an HDL of 56.
Related Discussions
74076_tn?1189759432
Hi Jerry,

These are questions we just don't know the answer to.  Claims are made based on logic and assumptions without good clinic studies to back them up.  As a rule, too much of anything is probably bad and moderation goes a long way.  I agree that the United States eats too many simple carbohydrates and could stand a moderate low carbohydrate diet, high in fiber.  There is good data for the Mediterranian diet.

If you want to cut your risk of cardiovascular disease:
don't smoke
exercise
control risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, and increased cholesterol (which you don't have).

I hope this helps.
7 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hi Jerry sounds like you have a great diet however with a diet that low in fat I would have bet your LDLs would be below 100. Thats why it is so tough with even a much better than average diet for the average person who is predisposed to high cholesterol to get and maintain good ratios over the long term with diet alone. Just a thought... Take care
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
You know its true that a low fat diet can lower your HDL, as it did to me. When i went on a restricted low fat diet, my LDL went down from 105 to 90 but my HDL fell from 44 to 38. ALthough the low fat diet is good if your exercising well and taking half a glass of red wine daily, fish oil, and adding fiber in your low fat diet will raise your HDL and lower your LDL.

The atkins diet is good if you dont exercise.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
The bottom line is most CAD is hereditary in nature. Lifestyle factors play a modest role in our heart health.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Yes i agree with Eric...family history plays a major role.

I believe that Family history is the #1 risk factor.

I have seen so many 60 yr olds who are over-weight and smoke and their arteries are clean as a whistle, then i ask them "anyone in your family ever had heart disease"...they always say no.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
An HDL is very good. We all should be so lucky to have an HDL that high.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Have you read the book? [Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease] If not buy it (around 15 bucks at Borders) and all will become very clear. One can't take a paragraph here and a paragraph there from internet snippets and get the full benefit of reading the entire book. I've lost 12 lbs in 2 months, BP has gone from 150ish/100ish to 126/79 resting, and my HP has gone from 70's to 60-65 at night and I'm 54 YO male. I take no BP meds and my BP stays like that in light of the fact I take 10mg's @day of Adderall (adderrall) (a stimulant) for adult ADD. I've haven't felt this well (physically) for some time. More energy (ask my wife, wink, wink, nudge, nudge), greater stamina, and I feel like a 20 year old (now if I could only find one!)!

Let me say as well this is NOT a placebo effect either my PCP has seen a difference.

----------------------------------

See these Heart Trial(s) here

http://tinyurl.com/4b2ab

http://tinyurl.com/55exe

Blank
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
Avatar_dr_m_tn
CCFHeart MD25Blank
Blank
Request an Appointment
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
How to Silence Your Inner Critic an...
Apr 16 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eaters: How to Silence Yo...
Mar 26 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
1344197_tn?1392822771
Blank
Vaginal vs. Laparoscopic Hysterecto...
Feb 19 by J. Kyle Mathews, MD, DVMBlank