Atkins Diet may not be
good for your Heart
February 14th, 2005
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
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
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.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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