Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Low-Carb, High-Fat Diets May Not Pose Risk to Arteries

Low-Carb, High-Fat Diets May Not Pose Risk to Arteries

06/02/11

THURSDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that low-carbohydrate diets, with regular exercise as part of the plan, don't appear to harm the arteries, as some experts have feared.

"It's pretty clear low-carb is effective for weight loss," said study author Kerry J. Stewart, director of clinical and research exercise physiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute. "The concern has been that because you are eating more fat this is going to put stress on your blood vessels."

So, Stewart and his team evaluated the short-term effects of a low-carb, higher-fat diet after a single meal. The researchers also compared a low-carb diet with a low-fat diet in dieters. In each case, they found no ill effects on blood vessel health.

Stewart is due to present his findings Friday at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting in Denver.

However, one nutrition expert said longer-term research is needed before concluding that high fat intake doesn't hurt blood vessel health.

For the first study, Stewart's team looked at the effects of eating an extremely high-fat McDonald's breakfast. The breakfast had more than 900 calories and 50 grams of fat. "That's half of what you should eat in a whole day," Stewart said.

The researchers then evaluated a marker of arterial stiffness and another measure of blood vessel health, known as endothelial function. "Even after eating this one meal, we didn't find any vascular changes from before to after," he said.

The arterial stiffness, in fact, improved, he noted, although he is not sure why.

Neither study had industry funding; both were financed by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

For the diet study, Stewart assigned 55 men and women who were overweight or obese to the low-carb diet or a low-fat diet. They also had abdominal obesity and a large waist circumference (35 inches or more for women, 40 or more for men). Both are risk factors for heart disease.

The low-carb plan included up to 55 percent fat at the beginning, and phased down to about 40 percent. It had about 15 percent carbs initially, and then went to 40 percent. The other dieters followed the American Heart Association's low-fat diet, with no more than 30 percent fat a day.

Both groups had supervised exercise three times a week.

At the meeting, Stewart will report on 46 dieters, 23 from each group, who lost 10 pounds. "In the low-carb group, they reached the 10-pound loss at 45 days," he said. The low-fat group needed 70 days to shed 10 pounds.

Their calorie intake was similar, whichever diet they were on.

Stewart performed the same blood vessel measures as in the breakfast study. "There were no differences in any of the vascular measures," he said.

The researchers will continue the study for six months. While Stewart cautioned that these are initial findings, he added, "We are pretty confident this is a real result. At the 10-pound weight-loss mark, we don't see any harm to the vasculature."

Stewart said he put on weight a few years ago, went on a low-carb plan while also exercising and dropped 40 pounds. He has kept if off for four years.

While the study is intriguing, long-term research is crucial, said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and past president of the American Dietetic Association.

"When it comes to the impact on blood vessel functioning, as a registered dietitian I would like to see more studies in healthy and unhealthy subjects and longer-duration studies before concluding that this high-fat intake does not impact blood vessel health," she said, although the study does show that exercise is important. The breakfast study, with its one-time test, does not provide much information about what impact these diets will have long-term, she added.

More information

To learn more about losing weight, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse First in Area to Perform Single-Site Hysterectomy
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >