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Atkins Diet may not be good for your Heart

February 14th, 2005

Atkins Diet may not be good for your Heart


A new study published in the February 13th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found that low-carb dieters end up having higher total cholesterol and higher levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol.

The researchers did a comparison of the high protein and high fat diet (low-carb) versus the low fat dieters.  Atkins low-carb dieters are encouraged to eat all types of protein and high fat foods with very little carbs.  South Beach is another low-carb diet; however this diet focuses on healthy protein (like chicken and fish) with balanced and controlled fat intake along with anything that is low-carb (certain types of fruits and vegetables, and sometimes beans.)  South Beach is calling their low-carbs, "smart carbs" because of the nutrition.


High cholesterol has always been of concern for a healthy heart.  Having too many lipids in the blood can promote fat to clog in the arteries.  Having a high cholesterol or high triglyceride levels puts a person at risk for heart attacks and strokes.

The researchers from the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland reviewed data from 5 small clinical trials of a low-fat dieting and low-carb dieting.  There were a total of 447 people ages from 42 to 49 years old.  There were 222 people that were on the low-carb diet and 225 people were on the low-fat diet.

The results showed that the low-carb dieters stayed on the diet longer and had lost more weight than the people on low-fat diets. The results after a twelve month period of time showed that the weight loss, blood pressure and completion rates were the same for both groups.  The low-carb dieters had an increase of total cholesterol levels including LDL levels.  There was a benefit of lower triglyceride levels and higher HDL “good” cholesterol levels with the low-carb dieters.


The authors at this time do not believe there is enough evidence to support the benefits of lowering triglycerides and raising good HDL cholesterol along with the ban LDL cholesterol.  At this time the researchers do not recommend a low-carb diet for weight loss to go past six months.

The differences between the low-fat dieters and the low-carb dieters were minor.  The low-carb diet did some good with lowering triglycerides and boosting HDL cholesterol.  But this benefit was usually cancelled out with the additionally raised LDL cholesterol.  It would be wise to consult a doctor if you have a metabolic syndrome, are overweight or obese before starting any new diet.

In the report the researchers said, "In the absence of evidence that low-carbohydrate diets reduce cardiovascular mortality, such diets currently cannot be recommended for prevention of cardiovascular disease."

The South Beach Diet may be a better choice for a low-carb diet because the qualities of the food you are eating include many vegetables.  It would be better to eat more whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and trim down on the fatty foods to regain your overall health.  Once a person comes off a diet, they are subject to gain all the weight back.


People faced with the metabolic syndrome and want to lower triglycerides can achieve this by eating more fish and skinless chicken breast, and minimize the red meat intake.  This along with eating more fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains (like oatmeal) will also improve serum lipid levels.  A recent study with the Pritikin diet had positive results for metabolic syndrome patients.  The blood lipid levels were improved even when weight loss was minimal and in a short time period.

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:48 PM