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Thursday, July 8, 1999 Published at 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK


Islanders take heart from Japanese diet

Islanders could provide answers for heart researchers

A group of Japanese scientists on a worldwide mission to reduce heart disease have arrived on the island of Skye to test the effects of a special diet on the local population.

Jackie O'Brien reports on the study
Study leaders from the World Health Organisation believe a diet of fish and soya supplements could hold the key to reducing Scotland's notorious heart disease rates, which are among the worst in the western world.

Two hundred islanders taking part in the trial will be required to eat products such as tofu for one month.

[ image: A tofu diet for participants]
A tofu diet for participants
The health experts believe that, in line with similar succesful tests on Masai warriors and Tibetan mountain people, they can produce results in a matter of weeks.

Professor Yukio Yamori said: "We have produced jelly-like tofu which contains very important components.

"Four weeks of dietary supplementation was actually effective for reducing cholesterol levels."

Skye was chosen as a study centre after initial research in the nearby Western Isles found the area had the second highest cholesterol level out of 60 selected sites worldwide.

[ image: Results will be carefully monitored]
Results will be carefully monitored
Professor Yamori pointed out: "Scottish people are eating fatty foods and taking a lot of cholesterol. Some of the food is salty and they are taking less fish.

"Tofu protects us from the causes of coronary heart diseases."

The Scottish volunteers are being invited to take part in clinical examinations. Blood and urine samples will be taken to assess their state of health.

The local diet will also be analysed and individuals monitored over their consumption of the new food supplements.

Study leaders hope Skye's contribution will eventually help to provide effective health promotion to small communities throughout the world.

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