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'Olive-oil' diet tasty, has staying power

June 3, 2010 at 7:46 PM   |   Comments

PROVIDENCE, R.I., June 3 (UPI) -- A diet using olive oil produces greater weight loss in breast cancer survivors compared with a more traditional low-fat diet, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I., found 80 percent of the 44 patients randomly assigned to start with the "olive oil diet" lost more than 5 percent of their baseline weight.

Among those who started with the more conventional diet recommended by the National Cancer Institute, 31 percent lost more than 5 percent of baseline weight. Both 1,500-calorie diets were followed for eight weeks.

The olive oil diet, developed by Mary Flynn, a research dietitian at Miriam, included extra virgin olive oil or nuts at each meal, three servings of fruit and unlimited vegetables daily. Also included in the diet were: whole grains, beans, limited poultry and fish, but no red meat or polysaturated fats.

The study, published in the Journal of Women's Health, also found 19-of-22 patients eligible for six-month follow-up chose to continue with the olive oil diet -- because they said it was more satisfying and affordable. All 19 either maintained weight loss or lost more weight.

Flynn developed the olive-oil diet because even moderate weight gain during breast cancer treatment has been associated with an increased risk of cancer recurrence.

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