Study: Low-Carb, Mediterranean Diets as Safe as Low-Fat Diets
Low-carb and Mediterranean diets are as good and safe as low-fat diets often recommended by doctors, according to research published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the study, 322 "moderately obese" people were told to adhere to one of three diets: low fat, restricted calorie; Mediterranean, restricted calorie; or low carb, nonrestricted calorie. Of the 272 participants who completely adhered to their diets during the two-year study period, the results were similar. The mean weight loss was 7.3 pounds, 10.1 pounds, and 12.1 pounds, respectively. All three diets had similar calorie counts, and the Mediterranean diet had the most dietary fiber and included lots of fruits and vegetables.
Genetic Trait Increases HIV Risks in Blacks
People of African descent are much more likely to possess a genetic trait that makes them more susceptible to infection with the HIV virus, according to a new study published today in Cell Host & Microbe. The trait, which also protects against a now uncommon form of malaria, may account for about 11 percent of HIV cases in Africa. Researchers, in an effort to learn how genetics affects the disease, looked at more than 1,200 members of the United States military who had HIV. The genetic trait in question is found in about 60 percent of African-Americans and 90 percent of Africans. The trait is virtually nonexistent in whites.
In June, U.S. News listed options for getting tested for HIV.
Monthly Breast Self-Exams Don’t Seem to Cut Deaths
A new review by the Cochrane Collaboration determined that no evidence exists demonstrating that monthly breast self-exams decrease deaths from breast cancer. In fact, conducting self-exams may actually double the number of unnecessary biopsies in women who do them compared with women who don't. The American Cancer Society'sscreening recommendations made breast self-exams optional in 2003. The grass-roots group Susan G. Komen for the Cure promotes "breast self-awareness" rather than regular monthly exams.
U.S. News's Katherine Hobson explains what the breast cancer news means to you.
Parents: Your Toddler Might Need Low-Fat Milk
If you're the parent of a toddler who is overweight or obese—or your family has a history of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, or obesity—the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends you switch your child to low-fat milk. The suggestion, part of a long list of recommendations aimed at keeping kids' cholesterol down to protect their long-term heart health, was included in a report published in the July issue of Pediatrics.
—January W. Payne