A series of news articles are now declaring negative verdicts on low carb-high protein diet. Are they good or bad for heart health? Is this some out of context study or is there something to this claim? The basis for this study is one recently published in the British Journal of Medicine with the dire warning that experts are warning people away from “Atkins Style” diets.
Upon closer inspection, it appears the headlines are mainly hype and not telling the real truth. The correlation appears from my standpoint to be a weak one. The amount of added protein in the diet was 5 grams, not even an ounce extra of some protein such as chicken, beef or fish, even tofu. And the amount of carbohydrate less was about a slice of breads worth. Um, that does not sound like an Atkin’s style diet to me at all.
To tell the truth, in this study that neither quality of food nor the composition of food was even considered . In reality, cutting down on carbohydrates, mainly in the form of some white food, including refined sugar, white rice, white bread, leads to improved health, lower BMI, and better health parameters. This is well documented.
Another follow up article in the same journal criticized not only the headline, but the conclusions as well.
Criticism of low carb-high protein diet study:
The headline should have been “The older women get, the more incidence of cardiovascular events they experience”, but then that wouldn’t have been headline news. Original source also in British Journal of Medicine
Drawing conclusions on the correlation of dietary intake with disease incidence, such as a low carb high protein diet being harmful to heart health, needs to be done with great care. All other factors need to be considered such as age, exercise habits, and other health habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption. In this case there was a correlation but not a cause and effect. This kind of reporting is actually harmful to the public, especially when it is repeated often enough. It begins to take the form of truth, much like the child’s game of telephone, where a sentence is whispered down a line of children and the message at the end of the line in no way shape or form resembles the initial message.
Setting the record straight: exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, drink in moderation, a natural food diet of whole foods (not refined), adequate hydration and rest, are going to lead to a healthier life. Whether you eat an average of 15 g more or fewer carbohydrates or 5 g more or fewer protein is not going to amount to any difference whatsoever if the major factors are not in place.
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