Make Small Diet Changes For Big Results

Apples in white bowlHealth scientists have reported that rates of obesity could be reduced and health improved if people made small changes to their diets. There is an ever growing number of obese and overweight people. However, many of these could regain a healthy weight with a few small changes rather than a large drastic change.

It is generally agreed that diet plans fail because they are too much of a drastic change from a person’s previous eating habits. Although diets such as the Atkins, Mediterranean and Zone diet do help people to lose weight, few people ever maintain these diets as part of a new lifestyle, so the lost weight is regained and the person then gives up on dieting, believing it to be pointless.

Make These Small Changes:

  • Add less salt to food
  • Stop snacks between meals, especially crisps/chips, chocolate and soda drinks
  • Eat more fruits each day
  • Eat less saturated fat
  • Eat more healthy fats

These small changes can help to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart attack and stroke which account for tens of thousands of deaths each year. The researchers emphasized that the biggest gain in health would be from avoiding trans fats.

The research in question has not been published yet, but was discussed at the annual heart disease conference in San Francisco which is run by the American Heart Association.

Remember that there are really two separate aspects to diet: health and weight management. It is possible to eat too much healthy food and still be overweight or obese to the point that you are unhealthy. However, most people do tend to eat too much unhealthy food. Both have the added problems caused by being overweight.

So do yourself a favor and make some little changes to the way you live your life to help you lose weight. Swap a burger for a salad, swap chips for some fruit, swap soda for a glass of water. Little changes go a long way.

Reference

“Estimating Cardiovascular Mortality Reduction with Different Food Policy Options” by Gemma Flores Mateo, Martin O’Flaherty, Ffion Lloyd-Williams

Abstract:

Objective

To estimate the reduction in UK cardiovascular mortality potentially
achievable by decreasing saturated fat, transfat and salt consumption and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. Methods Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) mortality reductions were calculated by synthesising data on population, diet, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and CVD mortality rates. Contemporary mortality and dietary data among UK adults 25 to 84 years old were obtained from official statistics. We quantified the aetiological effects of specific dietary factors on cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and CVD mortality using systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The number of CVD deaths achievable by reducing saturated fat, trans fat, and salt consumption and increasing fruits and vegetables was estimated for a variety of dietary policy scenarios. Results were stratified by ten-group age and sex. A probabilistic sensitivity analysis was then conducted. Using Monte-Carlo simulation, best, maximum and minimum estimates were calculated.

Results

Reducing salt consumption by 1g/day, saturated fat and transfat each by 1% of energy intake, and increasing of fruits and vegetable intake 1 portion per day would result in approximately 19,445 fewer CVD deaths per year. These would comprise 8,335 (minimum estimate 3,520, maximum estimate 24,860) fewer coronary heart disease deaths among men and 6,480 (minimum estimate 3,0855, maximum estimate 18,670) among women, along with 2,535 (minimum estimate 1,165, maximum estimate 5,385) fewer stroke deaths in men, 4,010 in women (minimum estimate 1,820, maximum estimate 8,480). Approximately 54% of the 19,455 mortality decrease would be attributed to to decreased transaturated fat consumption, 31% to increased fruits and vegetables consumption 8% to decreased saturated fat consumption, and 8% to decreased salt consumption.

Conclusions

The cardiovascular disease burden attributable to saturated fat, transaturated fat, salt and, fruits and vegetable consumption is substantial.

Food policies resulting in even small dietary changes could result in approximately 20,000 fewer CVD deaths each year. This would represent a 14% reduction in UK
cardiovascular mortality. Similar benefits might be expected in other industrialised populations.

Please note that this article was first published in 2010 following the 50th Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Scientific Sessions which was hosted in 2010.

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