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Natural Awakenings

Cautionary Note on Low-Carb Diets: Be Careful When Cutting Down

Some people swear by a low-carbohydrate diet, but what about the long-term effects? A first-time study by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has now revealed that following a low-carb diet for three months or more may increase atherosclerosis, a leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.

Mice placed on a 12-week, low-carbohydrate/high-protein diet showed a significant increase (15.3 percent) in plaque in their hearts’ arteries and a decreased ability to form new blood vessels in tissue deprived of blood flow, as might occur during a heart attack. Interestingly, the study also found that standard markers of cardiovascular risk, such as cholesterol levels, were unchanged in the animals fed the low-carb diet.

The researchers suggest that even if low-carb/high protein diets have proven successful in helping individuals rapidly lose weight, a more balanced approach to weight management, such as moderate, balanced food intake, coupled with exercise, is probably best for our heart and overall health.


Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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