Monday, November 18, 2002 -- In a surpise for the American Heart Association, the lastest study finds low-carb diet healthier and more effective than their low-fat diet.

After six months, the people on the Atkins diet had lost 31 pounds, compared with 20 pounds on the AHA diet, and more people stuck with the Atkins regimen.

Those on the Atkins diet had an 11 per cent increase in HDL, the good cholesterol, and a 49 per cent drop in triglycerides. On the AHA diet, HDL was unchanged, and triglycerides dropped 22 per cent. High triglycerides may raise the risk of heart disease.

While the volunteers' total amounts of LDL, the bad cholesterol, did not change much on either diet, there was evidence that it had shifted to a form that may be less likely to clog the arteries.

In other diet news:

- The heart association updated its guidelines on fish consumption, urging people with documented heart disease to eat one serving of oily fish, such as salmon, each day.

- A 12-year follow-up of Harvard's Nurses Health Study found that women who increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables had a 26 per cent lower risk of becoming obese.

More fish, more fruit, more vegetables, less sugar and starch, and don't worry too much about fat. Good news for healthy eaters.

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