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Diet Comparison – Low Fat Vs Low Carbohydrate - Low Fat Diets May Raise Bad (LDL) Cholesterol - Compare Atkins South Beach and Zone Diets

March 10th 2006

Diet Comparison – Low Fat Vs Low Carbohydrate - Low Fat Diets May Raise Bad (LDL) Cholesterol - Compare Atkins South Beach and Zone Diets

Dr. Atkins

Researchers say that although both low fat and low carbohydrate diets are effective methods of weight loss, the low carbohydrate diet may raise bad cholesterol.  The study includes data from five previous clinical trials and was published in the February 13 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The Atkins diet made low-carb dieting the rage.  Dr. Atkins was a cardiologist originally looking for a treatment for diabetes when he stumbled onto the low-carb method for losing weight.  He recommended that his patients avoid carbohydrates because they turn to sugar when consumed. 

Many dieticians saw problems with Atkins approach, which did not distinguish between good and bad fats.  This new research by Alain J. Nordmann, M.D. of the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, and his colleagues found that although the low-carb dieters lowered their triglycerides, their LDL (bad) cholesterol went up.


The concern over bad-fats has been the cornerstone of the South Beach Diet.  This diet limits carbs, especially sugar, processed flour and high fructose corn syrup, but the South Beach Diet does distinguish between good fat and bad fat, promoting fish and chicken over beef.

Recently research from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) cast doubt on the low fat diet.  Researchers at the cancer Research Center in Seattle found that low fat diets were no healthier than normal fat diets.  They found that low fat diets did not reduce the risk for breast cancer. 

This started the whole debate again concerning low fat diets.  Recently the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) ran a story on the subject. Correspondent Robert Bazell asked Dr. Walter Willett, a top nutrition expert at Harvard School of Public Health, some questions.


According to Dr. Willett, olive and other vegetable oils are actually healthy, while the fat in meat and the so-called “trans fat” in processed foods cause health risks — especially increased heart disease.  The doctor stresses that the type of fat is very important. 

The WHI findings concerned themselves primarily with overall fat.  Both the Zone Diet and the South Beach Diet promote healthier foods.  Atkins deserves credit for his insistence that limiting carbohydrates, but the newer diets are becoming more particular on both healthy fats and carbs.

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By Dan Wilson
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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM