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Eco-Atkins Diet Reduces Heart Risks

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Ahhh remember the Atkins diet – where former "fat-free" fanatics could chew their way to weight loss by flouting the conventional diet wisdom of “fat=bad?”

Dr. Atkins (who according to some controversial diet dissidents died of a heart attack) promised that by cutting carbohydrates and increasing animal fats we could all loose weight without having to skip meals or skull diet shakes. I myself was a carb-free convert, if only for a few months.

However, studies have shown that while the original Atkins meal-plan might keep you looking svelte, it does little to lower LDL (bad cholesterol), which is linked to heart disease. But with a few tweaks the latest Atkins regime has hit the “anti-meat” market – the “Eco-Atkins” diet; a high-protein, low carbohydrate, but entirely vegan-eating plan.

According to a recent study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, overweight adults who consumed a high-protein, entirely vegan diet were able to lose about the same amount of weight as a comparison group of dieters on a high-carbohydrate, low-fat vegetarian dairy diet. (Each group lost on average of just less than nine pounds).

However, while those on the high-carbohydrate dairy diet experienced drops of 12 percent in their LDL cholesterol, those on the high protein vegan diet saw cholesterol reductions of 20 percent.

Participants in the “eco-Atkins” group garnered their protein from gluten, soy, seitan, nuts and cereals as well as fruits, vegetables and vegetable oil (all vegan sources). The comparison group ate a more traditional high-carbohydrate but vegetarian diet that included dairy and eggs and was closely modeled on the DASH diet, an eating plan designed to lower hypertension.

Experts suggest the Eco-Atkins diet may be a potentially safer low-carb diet for people with heart problems.

Add a Comment1 Comments

This is good news!

I do remember my friends on that diet. Bacon. Cheese. Cheeseburgers. Bacon burgers. All the meat and fat you could eat, and they were losing weight. It was the strangest thing to see. I don't eat much meat, so it wasn't ever an eating plan that appealed to me. But I have to say that even though I cognitively understood how it worked, I just couldn't get my head around the notion that all that animal fat could be good for us.

I wonder, however, how many people would actually follow a vegan diet of any sort for any amount of time, unless they wanted to commit to the vegan lifestyle for other reasons. I'm a mostly-vegetarian and there are still times -- even in this age -- where I look at a menu and have to look hard to find something to eat besides a house salad. Most restaurant kitchens will accommodate special requests, and many have veggie options, so it's not a big deal. But to be a lifestyle, an eating program has to be compatible with your life, and I wonder how many will start an Atkins vegan diet but not stick to it. (As I recall, one of the reasons the high-protein/fat version was so popular was that people felt satisfied, they felt full. They didn't feel hungry an hour after eating.

Be interesting to see what level of acceptance this plan has. Thanks for the SHARE!

June 16, 2009 - 7:46am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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