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Benefits of healthy diet appear after two years

April 04, 2001

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - It's never too early to begin trimming the fat from your diet, a new report suggests, since the benefits of a healthy diet on a person's heart disease risk can take at least 2 years to kick in.

According to a review of 27 studies involving more than 30,000 healthy adults, a diet low in fat reduced deaths caused by heart disease by 9% and cut heart attacks and strokes by 16%. A low-fat diet did not appear to reduce the risk of dying from other causes, the researchers note in the March 31st issue of the British Medical Journal.


Visit the Heart and Circulation Topic Center

In other findings, individuals at high and low risk of heart disease appeared to benefit equally from following a healthy diet.

The benefits, however, were seen overwhelmingly in patients who participated in studies lasting more than 2 years, the report indicates.

In an interview with Reuters Health, lead author Dr. Lee Hooper of the University Dental Hospital in Manchester, UK, said that the findings should encourage people to stick to a healthy diet over the long term.

"I would encourage those at risk of cardiovascular disease to moderate their fat intake, and also to eat plenty of oily fish, fruit and vegetables, not smoke, take plenty of moderate exercise--and to keep on doing these things over time, as well as taking necessary prescribed medicines," Hooper said. "This will protect them as best we know how."



 

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