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High protein, low carbohydrate diet increases heart disease risk in women

Saturday, June 30, 2012 by: John Phillip
Tags: high protein, diet, heart disease

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(NaturalNews) Very few topics elicit more controversy and differing points of view than those pertaining to dietary ratios of carbohydrates, proteins and fats and how they pertain to optimal health. Nutrition science indicates that the answer to this dilemma is far from clear, and is most likely determined by individual body metabolism as predicated by evolved genetics and hereditary patterns. Yet, virtually all scientists would agree that highly processed and refined carbohydrates and excessive calories from animal protein contribute to chronic illnesses, especially cardiovascular disease in some at-risk individuals.

Researchers publishing in the British Medical Journal have determined that women who regularly eat a low carbohydrate, high protein diet are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease (such as heart disease and stroke) than those who do not. The study found that women consuming the highest amount of protein (from animal sources) coupled with low carbohydrates had a 28 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease, an alarming statistic given the popularity of low carbohydrate, high protein diets in younger women.

Low carbohydrate, high protein diets are quite prevalent as they produce rapid body weight control results in many adopters of the dietary lifestyle. Nutrition experts recommend substituting proteins from nuts and seeds for animal-based sources and drastically limiting carbohydrates from unhealthy sweeteners, drinks and snacks to achieve a nutritionally sound intake of macronutrients. In practice, many people do not heed this advice and can endanger their health as a consequence.

Low carbohydrate, high protein dietary pattern more than doubles heart disease risk

To conduct the study, researchers examined a cohort of nearly 44,000 Swedish women, aged 30 to 49 years with an average follow up of 15 years. Women completed a detailed dietary and lifestyle questionnaire to determine the ratio of high protein to low carbohydrate foods consumed. The dietary patterns were then plotted on a scale from 2 (high carbohydrate, low protein) to 20 (low carbohydrate, high protein). Influential factors such as smoking, alcohol use, hypertension, activity level and fat intake were taken into account when determining the patterns.

During the 15-year study period, 1,270 cardiovascular events took place in the 43,396 women (55 percent ischemic heart disease, 23 percent ischemic stroke, 6 percent hemorrhagic stroke, 10 percent subarachnoid hemorrhage and 6 percent peripheral arterial disease). Researchers found that cardiovascular disease incidence increased by 13 percent for women with a score from seven to nine (higher carbohydrate, lower protein intake), to 23 percent for those with a score from 10 to 12, to 54 percent for those with a score from 13 to 15 (lower carbohydrate, higher protein intake), and to 60 percent for those with a score of 16 or higher.

The study team authors concluded that a low carbohydrate, high protein diet "used on a regular basis and without consideration of the nature of carbohydrates or the source of proteins are associated with increased cardiovascular risk." It is important to note that this research did not find an increase in disease risk when the protein source was derived from nuts, seeds or vegetables. The study confirms the importance of a diet comprised of natural foods from organic sources with a balance toward carbohydrates from slow-releasing vegetables and fruits and moderate intake of proteins in the form of nuts and seeds to lower cardiovascular disease risk.

Sources for this article include:
http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e4026
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627092206.htm
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/247160.php

About the author:
John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.

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