Skip to comments.Arterial Function Deteriorates on Atkins Diet
Posted on 09/05/2009 5:10:07 PM PDT by neverdem
BOSTON Proponents of the Atkins low-carbohydrate/high saturated fat diet say that you can have your steak and eat it, too, and still lose weight.
But the adverse metabolic consequences are too heavy a price to pay, Australian investigators reported at a symposium sponsored by the International Atherosclerosis Society.
After 1 year, overweight and obese patients randomly assigned to the Atkins diet or to a low-saturated-fat, high-carbohydrate diet lost similar amounts of weight. But patients on the Atkins diet had a deterioration in flow-mediated arterial dilatation, a marker for cardiovascular disease, and higher levels of LDL cholesterol than at baseline, reported Dr. Peter Clifton of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Adelaide, South Australia.
What I really want to know is, does the early elevation of HDL, which has been shown convincingly [with the Atkins diet], and lowering of triglycerides plus the lowering of blood pressure and glucose, outweigh the rise in LDL cholesterol that you see in some individuals in some studies? said Dr. Clifton.
He and colleagues analyzed the effects of two diets on flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), a measurement of the ability of blood vessels to dilate in response to increases in blood flow. FMD is reduced in both cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but whether it improves with significant weight loss is unclear; if so, it might be related to either decreases in glucose or in LDL, Dr. Clifton said.
The study's aim was to evaluate the effects on markers of endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease risk of a very-low-carbohydrate/high-saturated-fat diet, and an isocaloric high-carbohydrate/low-saturated-fat diet.
The outcomes were FMD and markers of endothelial dysfunction, including cellular adhesion molecules, inhibitors and promoters of fibrinolysis, adiponectin, glucose, insulin, C-reactive protein (CRP), lipids, and apolipoprotein B.
The study involved 70 men and women aged 16-60 years with body mass index between 27 and 40 kg/m2, and markers for the presence of the metabolic syndrome.
After 1 year, the 33 patients on the Atkins diet lost slightly more weight on average (14.5 kg), than did the 36 patients on the low-fat diet (11.5 kg), but this difference was not significant.
There was no diet-specific effect on blood pressure, glucose, insulin or CRP, but the Atkins diet was superior to the low-fat diet at decreasing triglycerides and increasing HDL. The Atkins diet also was associated with increases in LDL levels.
Overall, 49 patients (26 on the Atkins diet, 23 on the low-fat diet) underwent FMD assessment. Endothelial function decreased by almost half from baseline among patients in the Atkins diet, compared with no change among patients on the low-fat diet. Overall, FMD deteriorated after 12 months on a high-saturated-fat Atkins diet, despite their fantastic weight loss and improvement in all those other things, Dr. Clifton said. Solely because the LDL increased, it outweighed all the other measures of weight loss. The other measures of endothelial function that we took actually improved except ICAM-1 on the Atkins diet, so there seems to be a separation of endothelial functions as expressed by nitric oxide and these other endothelial markers.
This really calls into question that fantastic elevation of HDL [with the Atkins diet] as being a good thing or having anything much to do with cardiovascular health, he added.
Dr. Clifton disclosed that he has coauthored diet books, but they do not include the information he presented.
The meat-heavy Atkins diet increased both HDL and LDL cholesterol.
A diet high in non root vegetables and high quality protein is probably the best diet you can eat. Paleolithic is the way to go.
Unless the study makes some effort to differentiate in terms of genetic isolates and so forth the results are always highly questionable.
They’re saying that unlimited red meat, cheese, butter, and eggs are bad for your arteries? Who knew?
Next, they’ll say that smoking is bad for your lungs, and a fifth of Scotch a day is bad for your liver.
Will it never end?
Did they check what effect the high-carb low-fat diet had on the samples blood sugar processing?
You can still do low-fat on Atkins. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
“There was no diet-specific effect on glucose, insulin ”
This is odd. Isn’t lowering glucose and insulin the point and the base of the mechanism by which low carb diets work?
I used to work with a guy who did Atkins as part of a group. There was only one member of the group who did not lose significant weight. Turned out she was eating a stick of butter, rolled in cinnamon, every night for ‘dessert’.
Thanks, lysie. I’d like to know more about the test and I’d like to see it repeated by other labs several more times. So far, and I was checked out thoroughly last summer, there has been absolutely no adverse results and with the additional benefit of not gaining weight.
I didn’t start losing weight, however, until I began the B12 injections.
The only diet that works is the GOYAADMEL dIet.
That would be the get off you ass and do more, eat less diet.
I’m beginning to believe the ONLY way to lose weight is with the lap band or gastric bypass surgery.
EVERY time I run into someone who’s lost weight that’s how they did it...
Well...I’m about to have all my cholesterols tested...and I’ve been on a pretty much Paleolithic diet for about 2 months.....and I have a genetic LDL issue....(small, dense, non-buyoant ldl).....I am NOT hungry eating this way, and I lost weight...BUT, I only eat GRASS Fed meat, whenever possible.
Just more BS trying to make sure we all turn into vegetarians. Millions of people have lost weight with the Atkins diet and I would be that they didn’t have any higher incident of heart disease than people who didn’t. Why didn’t they do a 5 year study of people who lost weight on the diet and see what the incident rate of heart attacks were compared to a control group?
No, it's by moderating swings in glucose and insulin levels. No spikes in blood sugar caused by sugars and low "roughage" carbs. No "downs" after the insulin kicks in.
Anyone who only loses 30 pounds IN A YEAR on the Atkins diet ain’t doing it right. And it is probably is what is skewing their cholesterol results.