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.