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Atkins-style diet 'poses heart risk'

26th August 2009

High protein, low carbohydrate diets could pose a vascular health risk over the long term, according to new research.

Atkins-style diets have been proven to help participants lose weight, but a study by researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has found that it could increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke.

Scientists demonstrated that mice on a 12-week version of the diet showed a significant increase in atherosclerosis, which is a build up of plaque in the heart's arteries.

The diet was also found to lead to an impaired ability to form new blood vessels in tissues deprived of blood flow.

Commenting on the findings, which have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, BIDMC director of cardiovascular research Anthony Rosenzweig said that previous research has been surprisingly reassuring about low carbohydrate, high protein diets.

'But our research suggests that, at least in animals, these diets could be having adverse cardiovascular effects that are not reflected in simple serum markers [usually used to measure the impact of diet in clinical studies],' he explained.

Recent research conducted by Dr Timothy Church of Louisiana University suggested that people could be undoing their hard work in the gym by eating unhealthy food afterwards.

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