May 3, 2013
Do low-carb diets increase your
risk for heart attacks?
On Wednesday, I showed you one of the problems with vegetarian diets. Today, I'm going to the other extreme and I'm going to show you a major problem with low-carb diets.

Swedish researchers conducted a study on the impact of low-carbohydrate diets and subsequent development of heart disease. They found that a one-tenth decrease in carb intake or increase in protein intake was significantly associated with increasing vascular disease.

Continued Below...

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These researchers were looking at the popular Atkins Diet. It was popular years ago. But many studies showing some of its problems have decreased its popularity. And rightly so. Yes, the diet does lower cholesterol and triglycerides. It does induce weight loss in many, but not all. But we know now that cholesterol by itself is of very limited risk.

What's more, Atkins pushed meat, which you must cook before you eat it. That damages the fats, lipids, and cholesterol it contains. So while you might see an improvement in some blood tests, you can be adding heat and oxygen-damaged molecules to your body, which could be the ultimate trigger of vascular disease. The excess of protein itself could be a factor. Indeed the China Study found that any increase in animal protein increases all-cause mortality.

I also want to mention that not all carbs are the same. Refined carbs are toxic, period! Edible carbs, in my book, are whole plant foods. These include fruit, veggies, tubers, and even whole grains and legumes. Remember, I get all my protein from plants (with a small amount of dairy). I eat virtually no processed food, but get a lot of whole food carbs. My cholesterol is 175 with a good HDL. My triglycerides are 100. I have ideal life insurance actuarial height-weight proportions. And I had the physical strength to hike the arduous John Muir Trail in the high Sierra.

I swore off the Atkins program for patients long before I came onto the very successful Living Foods Diet. I am not recommending that you become a vegetarian. I am reporting that excess of protein is a problem. Meat should not be your primary food! Vegetables should be your focus.

REF: BMJ, 7/5/2012.

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