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High-protein diets may pose health risks

High protein diets have no proven effectiveness in long-term weight reduction and post potential health threats for those who adhere to them for more than a short time, accordinhg to an advisory from the American Heart Associantion’s Nutrition Committee in Circulation published in: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Some of the diets increase fat intake and reduce nutritionally rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, which is not a good approach// to meeting a person’s long-term dietary needs, says Robert H. Eckel, of the Association’s Nutrition Committee. Many of these diets fail to provide vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutritional elements, in addition to their high fat content.

A compelling argument against following a high-protein diet, Eckel ssays, is that these diets have not been documented to deliver on their promise of sustained, long-term weight loss.The safety, credibility and effectiveness of the revised American Heart Association nutritional guidelines, on the other hand, are backed by scientific documentation, he adds.

Studies have consistently shown that successful, maintenance of weight loss occurs most often when people follow a nutritionally sound diet and increase physical activity to burn more calories than they consume, says Eckel, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Science Centre in Denver.

Foods emphasised in some of these high-protein and similar diets are from animal sources that are rich in both protein and saturated fat such as meat and eggs.Meanwhile, some of the diets drastically limit consumption of high-carbohydrate foods such as cereals, grains, fruits, vegetabled and low-fat milk products, Eckel says.Eating large amounts of high-fat animal foods over a sustained period has been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and several types of cancer, he adds.

A diet high in complex carbohydrates that includes f
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