Low-fat diets are more effective in preserving and promoting a healthy cardiovascular system than low-carbohydrate, Atkins-like diets, according to a new study by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
The study, published in the February edition of the scientific journal Hypertension, was led by David D. Gutterman, M.D., Northwestern Mutual Professor of Cardiology, professor of medicine and physiology, and senior associate dean of research at the Medical College. Shane Phillips, M.D., a former Cardiology faculty member at the Medical College, and now assistant professor in the department of physical therapy at the University of Illinois - Chicago, was the lead author.
Public awareness of the obesity epidemic has resulted in various dietary weight loss strategies. In America, it is estimated that 45 percent of women and 30 percent of men diet to lose weight.
The nutrient-specific effects of these diets on cardiovascular health are largely unknown, says Dr. Gutterman.
Low-carbohydrate diets are significantly higher in total grams of fat, protein, dietary cholesterol and saturated fats than are low-fat diets. While a low-carbohydrate diet may result in weight loss and improvement in blood pressure, similar to a low-fat diet, the higher fat content is ultimately more detrimental to heart health than is the low-fat diet suggested by the American Heart Association, points out Dr. Phillips.
The higher fat content of a low-carbohydrate diet may put dieters at an increased risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) because low-carbohydrate diets often reduce protection of the endothelium, the thin layer of cells that line the blood vessels of the circulatory system. The reduced production from the endothelium of nitric oxide, a specific chemical, puts the vessel at higher risk of abnormal thickening, greater clotting potential, and cholesterol deposition, all part of the atherosclerosis pr
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Medical College of Wisconsin