Cut Back Fats to Trim Waistlines

Trans and saturated fat reduction can help lower weight and slim waistlines

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Sounds like a no-brainer, but reducing fat intake can help people lose weight and lower the risk of cardiovascular events. It just takes small changes to really add up overall.

A recent study looked at 10 trials including 73,589 people that focused on lowering fat intake for anywhere from 6 months to 8 years. Exercise and reduced calories were not factored into the calculation. People lost a small amount of weight from trimming fat alone and lowered their risks for heart trouble in the future.

"Cut back on unhealthy trans and saturated fats."

Lee Hooper, MD, senior lecturer in research synthesis and nutrition at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia in the UK, was the lead author.

For the study, 33 randomized and controlled trials were pulled from medical databases in 2010 that focused on lowered versus regular fat intake for 6 months to 1 year, and reviewed for information. A total of 73,589 participants from 10 studies were used. Results showed that diets lower in fat intake yielded lower relative body weight by an average of 3.5 lbs. Lower fat intake was associated with lower body mass index of -0.51 in nine of the trials, and smaller waistline by 0.3 cm in 15,671 women.

Authors concluded, “Lower total fat intake leads to small but statistically significant and clinically meaningful, sustained reductions in body weight in adults with baseline (measures at the start of the study) intakes of 28-43 percent of energy (calorie) intake and durations from 6 months to over 8 years. Evidence supports a similar effect in children and young people.”

In order to reduce the risk of negative cardiovascular events, Dr. Hooper recommends a permanent eating pattern that reduces and modifies fat intake. It could take up to 2 years for positive changes in diet to manifest in the cardiovascular system.

Minimize saturated and trans fats and eat mainly poly- and mono-unsaturated fats instead.

Dr. Hooper said, “[M]ake sure that the fat we are still eating is mainly mono- and poly-unsaturated, but (we) need to make sure that we don’t eat more food overall. This will still work to help us lose weight, and reduce our risk of cardiovascular events.”

This study was published in December in the British Journal of Medicine. Funding was provided by the World Health Organization through Durham University, and Norwich Medical School and the University of East Anglia. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 19, 2012
Last Updated:
April 11, 2013