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New "Eco-Atkins" Diet May Help You Lose Weight Without Sacrificing Heart Health

A study published in the June 2009 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that low-carb diets high in plant-based proteins may have the potential to improve cholesterol while losing weight.

The researchers from the University of Toronto also assert that low-carb weight loss diets with primarily meat protein can lead to adverse affects due to their higher levels of unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol.

For the study, the researchers randomly assigned 47 participants to either an "Eco-Atkins" diet or a high-carb diet for a period of 4 weeks.

The Eco-Atkins diet was a low-carbohydrate diet (26% of total calories) high in vegetable protein whereas the high-carb diet was 58% carbohydrates, 16% meat protein, and 25% fat.

At the end of the four weeks, both groups experienced similar weight loss (average of 8.8 pounds).

However, there was a significantly higher reduction in blood pressure for the Eco-Atkins group and reductions in LDL-C (bad cholesterol) levels were higher as well.

Furthermore, there were improvements in the ratios between total cholesterol and HDL-C for the Eco-Atkins diet but no differences were observed for the high-carbohydrate group.

The researchers say these findings can lead to higher protein diets that promote weight loss without sacrificing heart health.

They also noted that larger studies with more diverse and higher risk populations are necessary before this new diet can be recommended to the larger population.

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