Consequences of low carbohydrate diets - article in the British Medical Journal

Cohort study: 43396 Swedish women, aged 30-49 years
Study time: average of 15.7 years
Journal: British Medical Journal

Conclusions: Low carbohydrate-high protein diets, used on a regular basis and without consideration of the nature of carbohydrates or the source of proteins, are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study also indicates that the risk increases the more protein and the less carbohydrates are consumed. Please read the article here to get the details:

I just saw this on the news! If I recall correctly, they said women who had been on the Atkins (or a similar diet) for 4+ years were at a particularly higher risk of heart disease...It really makes you conscious of the types of foods you eat, not just the carb count...

Most low carb diets stress moderate protein, high fat & low carb. Dr. Atkins did also, but this got misinterpreted to eat all the protein you want.

There was an interesting result in a study reported in the Wall Street Journal today which compared low fat, low carb and moderate carb (45% of calories from carbs) for weight maintenance. The low fat diet appeared to be the worst at keeping the weight off and the low carb the best. However, there was an increase in cortosol levels in the low carb group which can be a problem. This was a study of young, overweight but otherwise healthy adults so it can't be directly applied to people with diabetes but it is suggestive of the complexity of the issue.

I am glad that you pointed that out Gerri. I am giving a talk in 2 weeks on diabetes & carbs. The person I am working with on that pointed out to me this morning that she on the Today show that Atkins was killing people.

Maurie, I am guessing that the low fat people ended up really upping their carb intake. If you look at any low fat things, they always have a lot more carbs in than the regular things. I heard they put the extra carbs in to make up for the loss of taste when they take the fat out.

Dr. Atkins has been vilified for years, even reports of how he died were incorrect & used as fodder to demonize him. Man was decades ahead of his time. People will pretty much say or do anything than rather logically approach & change how they eat. Food is right up there with politics & religion as a loaded topic.

You're right. Low fat is typically high carb. In food like dairy products, that are naturally high fat, simply lowering the fat content results in a greater concentration of carbs. In others, the removal of fat results in taste loss that's replaced with chemical flavor enhancers &/or carbs.

This is one of the few studies where all meals were prepared for the subjects so that self-reporting wasn't an issue. It seems that the subjects' metablolism was more efficient on the low fat diet so that they simply burned off fewer calories.

Just to refer you to a report on the Swedish findings by an English Doctor. He believes that the results have been reported inaccurately and invalid conclusions drawn from an epidemiological study. Worth reading.
I'm about to get his book which some people swear by.

I'm about done paying any attention to these so called studies. If you want a study that proves bubble gum reduces the number of complications a PWD get, let me know. Guaranteed I can get my study to prove it. If you want my study to prove it will make you smarter, I can do that as well but that will cost more money.

I agree with not bothering too much with studies. I am not low carb but, at 80-120G / day am perhaps lower than many people in my "cohort" (44 year old US Males? ) and feel pretty strong. Most of my "vitals" are good and lab results, both D and non-D are good. While I'm an "amateur" (cf other thread...) I feel like I have plenty of data to suggest that eating less carbs has helped me lose like 90 lbs and stay active. I never figured I'd survive much past 40 so anything now is gravy (low carb gravy? hmmm...) and I'm willing to "roll the dice" on what seems to be mild and questionable cardiovascular risk.

Dr. Biffa's response, doesn't even appear to be addressing the same article. I can't find the points he's quoting. The study comparing cadiac instances reporting among two groups with different eating habits. It doesn't mention cholesterol levels.

Its hard to know what to believe at times because all the medical research seems to contradict itself. From my own personal experience I always seem to do better on low carb but Im a big believer in everything in modification.
Atkins would never be for me, because if I dont have a day without more than a low level of carbs I tend to go insane

No study is perfect, but this one seems to have been pretty well conducted. It could have gone either way, but it didn't. Of course, it does have certain weaknesses.

I would consider the finding a warning against too much protein, rather than the virtues of carbohydrates. At least for women.

A positive that carb cravings are gone in several weeks. Before T1, I was vegetarian & ate mostly carbs. I didn't believe it was possible not to crave them, but it's true that the less carbs you eat the less you want. Carbs lose appeal.

Nutrition is more like religion than science. These “studies” don’t mean diddly squat. No way I am changing my low carb diet. I have the best body fat % I’ve ever had, a fine cholesterol profile, and my A1c is good. No way I am going to start eating a bunch of cereal and rice because this study says I should. LOL.

Since the methodology was a food survey, which tend to be inaccurate, it's hard to say how much the study means. The raw numbers are 4 to 5 extra occurrences of heart disease per 10,000 persons per year.

Given that I started low carbing in response to T2 diabetes, I would still low carb even if these statistics prove to be correct. The risks of uncontrolled blood sugars would surely be higher. And as others have mentioned I feel better eating this way.

Badmoon I agree, What ever the increased cardo risk is I doubt it's as bad as uncontrolled blood sugars. Speaking from a T2 perspective the added weight that many T2s experience has to be a much higher cardo risk that the low carb diet will ever cause. Without lower carbs I could have never controlled my weight or my blood sugars. I'm like AR I'm willing to roll the dice on this one.

Gary S

Looks like someone beat me to it.:(

I have a group of non-D friends that all went on the Atkins diet a few years ago, when it was more popular. One was a patient of Dr. Atkins. They all lost a great deal of weight very quickly.

They were only able to stick to the diet for a few months, and are now heavier than before they began. They are all in their early 40's and all have elevated HDL, blood pressure and triglycerides.

I've found the LC diet very effective for controlling BG. I think that the risks of elevated BG probably outweigh any risks associated with LC dieting. Either way, I prefer to have a clear idea of what the risks are.