In contradiction to the best information that science and nutrition has to offer, it is now shown that some patients can lose weight following high fat diets. The basic structure of the high fat diet is an 1800 calorie diet with up to half the calories coming from fat.
The list of acceptable fruits and vegetables are somewhat narrow, the overall amount of fiber in the diet is low, and while it has been clinically shown to induce weight loss, many doctors are cautiously optimistic at best when they view short term weight loss benefits with the potential for longer term cardiovascular risk.
The acceptable vegetables for the high fat diet, as proposed by James Hays, MD, endocrinologist, are any vegetable that are grown above ground such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and fruits such as apples, pears, oranges and peaches assuming they haven’t been processed.
Though the high fat diet is low in carbohydrates, a piece of fruit is eaten at the end of each meal. Those who showed the greatest percentage of weight loss while following the diet were the ones who completely eliminated starch. By and large, dieters managed to lose roughly 5% of their body weight in six weeks. Some patients continuing on with the diet lost up to 40% of their weight before coming off the diet.
The original clinical study group consisted of 23 individuals at risk for diabetes and already diagnosed with heart disease. According to the results of the study, patients showed a reduction of their triglycerides (fat in the blood) while cholesterol (HDL and LDL) remained unchanged. Doctors noted that the size of the cholesterol molecules increased. Larger LDL molecules are less likely to form the artery-clogging plaque, while the larger HDL molecules are capable of removing more plaque.
The basic concept behind the high fat diet in treating patients with heart disease is that cholesterol is removed from the body through bile production, and high fat foods can increase the production of bile.
Since this diet was part of a documented study, many people in the diet community have had a chance to evaluate its merits. It is believed that the overweight patients losing weight on the diet were losing weight because it was still lower in calories than what they were used to, and any calorie reduction will trigger weight loss.
What many doctors specifically did not like about the high fat diet is that, over long term, they believe it can still put a patient at further risk for kidney disease and colon cancer. It is widely believed that many other diet types will trigger healthy weight loss, and unlike high fat diets will not increase the risk for other diet related diseases.