June 30, 2009
ST. LOUISA new study shows a vegetarian version of the Atkins low-carbohydrate diet may help people lose weight and lower levels of low-density lipoprotien (LDL, or bad) cholesterol in the blood. The traditional Atkins diet consists of low carbohydrate foods and a high intake of animal protein.
Researchers from St. Michaels Hospital and the University of Toronto, in collaboration with researchers from Solae LLC, studied the effect of a modified version of the Atkins diet on both weight loss and heart disease risk factors. The study, published in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at weight loss and heart disease risk factors of subjects who followed a diet low in carbohydrates, but high in vegetable proteins that included soy.
Forty-seven overweight men and women with elevated blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels were given either a low carbohydrate diet where the protein came from vegetable sources, including soy, or a high carbohydrate, low-fat, lacto-ovo vegetarian diet for four weeks. Calorie restriction was similar for both groups. There was similar weight loss and lowered blood pressure in both groups; however, the low carbohydrate, higher protein diet group also saw significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors like apolipoproteins, blood triglyceride levels and blood pressure.
Results showed that participants who ate a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet high in plant-based proteins, oils and fiber lost weight and experienced improvements in blood cholesterol levels and other heart disease risk factors. These findings suggest that an eco-friendly version of the Atkins weight-loss dietstressing plant proteinsis better than a high carbohydrate weight-loss diet at reducing risk factors of heart disease.
Our study demonstrated that when a low carbohydrate diet was given using plant foods rather than the more usual animal proteins and fats, advantages were seen in cholesterol and blood pressure reduction, said Dr. David J. A. Jenkins. Soy proteins and nuts were valuable sources of protein and nuts also provided healthy oils. These foods have individually been associated with cholesterol reduction in other studies.
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