It’s the bane in Spain, anyway
A new study by researchers at Spain’s Rovira i Virgili University has concluded that persons who are considered to be at high risk for developing heart disease, especially those who are also overweight, should avoid Atkins-style diets that emphasize heavy protein intake and low consumption of carbohydrates. An analysis of data that tracked the health of high-risk individuals for nearly five years found that those who ate lots of protein and few carbs were not only twice as likely to gain weight -- more than ten percent of their initial body weight, on average -- than those on a balanced diet, but were also 59 percent more likely to die during the study period. And high-protein-low-carb dieters who also limited their intake of fats were 66 percent more likely to die.
Animal-based protein diets may increase death rates, concludes a new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine. The study found that people consuming low-carbohydrate, animal-based protein diets had a higher risk of death compared to people eating a low-carb diet with plant or vegetable-based proteins, says CNN. Increased mortality rates included deaths from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Researchers were able to confirm a direct association between animal-based low-carb diets in males and increased cancer mortality, especially from colorectal and lung cancer. CNN reports that the Atkins company defends their diet, saying the study doesn't apply to their eating plans. Study researchers say that the diet used in the research wasn't designed to mimic any particular low-carb diet.
Bitter Taste May Be Sweet
An antioxidant that's found in the bitter flavor of grapefruit may be useful in treating diabetes, claim researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Massachusetts General Hospital. Naringenin, which is found in grapefruit and other citrus fruits, might cause the liver to break down fat, increasing insulin sensitivity, say researchers. That process occurs naturally during long periods of fasting, but naringenin activates nuclear receptors which cause the liver to break down fat and increase insulin. "It is a process which is similar to the Atkins diet, without many of the side effects," comments Martin L. Yarmush, MD, PhD, one of the paper's authors.
Healthy Carbs Are In
The writers of a new book about the Atkins Diet hope that a revamped plan will attract new adherents to the low-carb diet plan. The book, The New Atkins for a New You, puts more emphasis on eating healthy vegetables than the original diet, which was first published in 1972, did. The book also includes new advice on dealing with the first phase of the diet, when carbohydrate consumption is very low (it says you should ramp up your salt intake, which hardly sounds like a good idea). Critics say the diet still isn't healthy (evidenced by the book's suggestion that dieters use supplements) and is expensive and wasteful (a recipe calls for making chicken broth with a whole chicken, then discarding the meat).