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<April 2014>
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colette_heimowitz's Blog
Research Update—First Quarter of 2014

It can be a full-time job to keep up on the latest developments in clinical research on controlled-carbohydrate nutritional practices and the Atkins Diet’s reduced carbohydrate way of eating. This is why I thought it may be a good idea to post a research update every few months that summarizes the latest research for you and how it relates to Atkins.

Here’s what has happened in just the last three months:

1. Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids with Coronary Risk
Authors: Rajiv Chowdhury, MD, PhD; Samantha Warnakula, MPhil; Setor Kunutsor, MD, et al

Ann Intern Med. 2014; 160(6):398-406-406. doi: 10.7326/M13-1788

Background: Current guidelines suggest consuming more omega-6 polyunsaturated fat and less saturated fat is better for cardiovascular health.

Purpose: Review multiple studies (a meta-analysis) to analyze the connection between fat consumption and heart disease.

Conclusion: The results of this meta-analysis show no connection between saturated fat consumption and heart disease risk. The evidence does not support the current recommended guidelines.

What does this mean to you? This meta-analysis supports Atkins’ recommendations for fat consumption. Especially in the context of a low-carb eating program, the fat consumed on Atkins is burned for energy and does not raise the risk of heart disease.

2. The Cardiometabolic Consequences of Replacing Saturated Fats with Carbohydrates or Ω-6 Polyunsaturated Fats: Do the Dietary Guidelines Have it Wrong?

Author: James J DiNicolantonio

Open Heart 2014; 1:e000032. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2013- 000032

Background: Dietary Goals for Americans, published in 1977, proposed increasing carbohydrates and decreasing saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet. This increase in consumption paralleled an increase in the incidence of diabetes and obesity in the U.S.

Purpose: Are saturated fats as bad as we have lead to believe? This editorial discusses the data.

Conclusion: There is no conclusive proof that a low-fat diet has any positive effects on health; when carbohydrates replace saturated fat, it actually increases your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. A public health campaign is needed to educate everyone on the dangers of a diet high in carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods.

What does this mean to you? If you’re doing Atkins, you’re already doing exactly what Dr. DiNicolantonio (the editorial’s author) suggests by following a plan that incorporates a balance of healthy fats (including saturated fats), fresh vegetables, whole grains (eventually if your metabolism allows) and protein, and limits refined carbs, sugar and processed foods. 

3. The Low-Carbohydrate Diet and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Evidence from Epidemiologic Studies

Authors: T. Hu, L.A. Bazzano, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases (2014)

Background: Researchers analyzed multiple studies conducted from January 1966 to November 2013 comparing low-carb diets and low-fat diets. Randomized, controlled studies have shown that low-calorie low-carb diets are at least as effective as low-fat diets for weight loss.

Purpose: To compare low-carb diets to low-fat diets for weight loss and the improvement of heart disease risk factors.

Conclusion: Both low-carb and low-fat diets can help you lose weight and decrease your risk of heart disease, although low-carb diets may be more effective at decreasing waist circumference. The researchers concluded that a low-carb diet can also be recommended to diabetic patients to help them lose weight, but they emphasize that a healthy low-carb diet should emphasize dietary fiber intake derived from whole grains, fiber-rich fruit, low-carbohydrate vegetables (such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, and cruciferous vegetables), avocado, olive and vegetable oils, soy, fish and chicken, and restrict or eliminate consumption of processed and unprocessed red meat as well as starchy vegetables and refined grains.

What does this mean to you? When it comes to decreasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease, while losing weight and slashing inches from your waist, Atkins may be just what the doctor ordered.

4. A Non-Calorie-Restricted Low-Carbohydrate Diet is as Effective as an Alternative Therapy for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Yoshifumi Yamada, Junichi Uchida, Hisa Izumi, Yoko Tsukamoto,
Gaku Inoue, Yuichi Watanabe, Junichiro Irie and Satoru Yamada

Internal Medicine, January 2014

Background: In a six-month, randomized controlled trial, 24 patients with type-2 diabetes were either put on a low-carb diet or a calorie-restricted diet.

Purpose: To determine the effect of the two diets on average blood glucose concentration, which is an indicator of blood sugar levels. Reductions in total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, blood pressure, markers of atherosclerosis and renal function were also measured.

Conclusion: The low-carb diet significantly improved blood sugar levels and triglyceride levels compared to the calorie-restricted diet. And although calories weren’t restricted on the low-carb diet, after six months, calorie intake for both groups was almost the same.

What does this mean to you? If you have type-2 diabetes and you have tried calorie-restrictive in the past without success, a low-carb diet like Atkins can help manage your type-2 diabetes while helping you control your calorie intake without feeling hungry.

Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014 07:21 PM by colette_heimowitz
Filed Under: Nutrition
PauletticusJ said:
I am so glad that the research is finally proving what is correct for a type-2 diabetic like myself. For years I was forced to eat a low fat, high carb diet which did not help me at all. In fact, it made me worse. Since starting the Atkins diet about 2 months ago, I have lowered my A1C from 9.5 to 6.5, my cholesterol has dropped by half and I have dropped 20 pounds. I am eating eggs, fatty meats, real cream and butter, and moderate green vegetables. My doctor is extremely surprised and happy with my results. She believes in me and encourages me to continue on my path to diabetic health.
April 16, 2014 08:18 PM EST
colette_heimowitz said:
Good for you Pauletticus! Keep up the good work.
April 16, 2014 09:06 PM EST
mollytinker said:
"...and restrict or eliminate consumption of processed and unprocessed red meat..." I would love to know your thoughts on that from #3. Thanks, Lee
April 17, 2014 09:03 AM EST
PauletticusJ said:
Mollytinker has a good thought. I am not eliminating red meat. In fact, my consumption of red meat has increased, and I am having nothing but excellent results with my health reports. Why is this being restricted?
April 17, 2014 09:44 AM EST
colette_heimowitz said:
Don't worry, no need to give up meat while on Atkins, as long as carbs are low enough it will pose no health risk. We were just talking about this in the forums. The purpose of the blog was to report results and conclusions of recently published independent papers. It does not reflect any new recommendations from Atkins. While there is a real shift in thinking lately that saturated fat is not as bad as once thought , there is still a long way mainstream needs to go. Eat less saturated fat: that has been the take-home message from the U.S. government for the past 30 years. We all know that Refined Carbohydrates, not Fats, threaten the Heart. Mainstream is just coming around to that possibility and it still shows up in habitual thinking. Be patient, the more we see of this kind of published research, the more comfortable everyone will become.
April 17, 2014 07:58 PM EST
mollytinker said:
Thank you for your response!
April 18, 2014 09:27 AM EST said:
This is awesome! I am so happy to be back on Atkins WOE. In 2012 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Long story short, after 20 years "doing Atkins" I went totally Vegan and bought every homeopathic remedy, treatment, herb I could ( really could NOT) afford to rid myself, truly believing that all the fat and protein I was eating caused it. Well it only grew after over a year of eating clean Vegan and I finally had a double mastectomy. In testing they found it to be caused by hormones but they got it all. Just after surgery I started gaing and over the winter gained 30 lbs. I stayed vegan but was very hungry all the time. Started back to my Atkins and in just a week have lost 7 lbs which is a lot for me and my slow 63 year old metabolism. Six month check shows I am still cancer free!
May 01, 2014 06:33 AM EST
Benedina said:
Really appreciate the help in keeping up on research in the field. Thanks! Benedina
May 22, 2014 07:15 PM EST
barbarascherry said:
My concerns are about post menopause and Atkin diet. Since estrogen plays a big role on our weight loss after menopause, can I lose weight? I have recently been put on the patch to replace estrogen loss and I need to lose weight desperately. About 40 to 50 pounds. I loved Atkin Diet in my younger days but I am worried if it's right for me.
June 02, 2014 12:40 PM EST
colette_heimowitz said:
Dear barbarascherry, Estrogen will make weight loss more difficult but not impossible. Atkins is your best shot at losing weight. You will not lose at the same pace as your younger self, but you WILL lose if you follow a well-constructed Atkins Diet.
June 19, 2014 02:30 PM EST
dmt@ATK said:
My weight loss was steady for months, then my thyroid enlarged; I thought maybe it could be the amount of specific foods I've been eating too much of that can effect the thyroid, ie, broccoli, cabbage, soy, kale etc. I have an ultrasound coming up, but I'm hoping my doctor doesn't recommend me coming off of Atkins. I thought I read in one of Dr. Atkins books that sometimes this happens and that a small amount of natural thyroid medicine can help reset your metabolism in this instance. I started getting very dry skin/eyes, constipated and tired when not too long ago felt wonderful and full of energy. What I'm afraid of is now that my metabolism is slowed by my thyroid, should I stick to the 20 grams of carbs? I wanted to start on the 40 plan as I liked the variety!
January 05, 2015 02:34 AM EST
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