Diets that are low in carbohydrates such as rice, bread, pasta and potatoes can be bad for your heart.
That news comes from researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which is part of Harvard Medical School in Boston. Although the study was done in mice, the findings were powerful enough that the lead researcher, Dr. Anthony Rosenzweig, abruptly stopped following the low-carb diet he was on.
These diets, the most famous of which is probably the Atkins diet, preach eating lots of protein such as meat, fish, eggs and cheese, even if these are high-fat foods. The mice in the study were fed either a standard mouse diet, a Western diet high in fat, or a low-carb, high-protein diet. After 12 weeks, the mice who ate the low-carb diet had gained less weight but had developed 15 per cent more atherosclerosis — a build-up of plaque in the arteries — than those on the standard mouse food. The Western diet group had nine per cent more atherosclerosis.
“Our research suggests that, at least in animals, these diets could be having adverse cardiovascular effects,” says Rosenzweig. “It appears that a moderate and balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise, is probably best for most people.”
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.