Rigorous, Short-Term Diet?Exercise Program Lowers Heart Disease Risk

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Obese men can significantly reduce their heart disease risk by using a 3-week low-fat, high-fiber diet and daily exercise?even though they may lose only a few pounds?according to research published in Circulation (October 21, 2002). A total of 11 obese men aged 38 to 72 years were given a Pritikin Longevity Center 21-day residential diet and participated in an exercise program that consisted of brisk walking on a treadmill for 45 to 60 minutes a day. The meals consisted of less than 10% of calories from fat, 15% to 20% from protein, and 70% to 75% from unrefined carbohydrates. By the end of the program, high blood pressure resolved in all of the 7 men who had hypertension at baseline. Systolic blood pressure decreased by 14%, diastolic blood pressure by 10%, and oxidative stress by 28%. Nitric oxide availability improved by 28%. Furthermore, total cholesterol decreased by 19%, insulin levels by 46%, and blood glucose by 7%.