Low-carb approaches to eating, when done correctly, focus on healthy, organic fats. These fats, unlike the carbohydrate-rich diets prevalent today, form a sustainable food lifestyle. According to new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the low-carb diet, and high-fat diets can strengthen heart function and reduce abnormal body fat weight composition.
The study, which was financed by the National Institutes of Health, included 150 men and women from different racial backgrounds. For one year, researchers restricted the amount of carbs and fat participants could consume, but did not restrict overall calorie intake.
First popularized by Dr. Robert Atkins, the low-carb approach group lost roughly eight pounds more than the low-fat group. In addition, the low-carb group reduced their body fat and improved lean muscle mass. Even though both groups had the same physical activity levels, only the low-carb group saw a dramatic improvement. For foods, the low-carb group ate mostly protein and fat, which consisted of fish, olive oil, nuts, chicken, red meat, eggs, and cheeses, plus a healthy amount of vegetables.
The low-carb group more than doubled the recommended daily amount of saturated fat established by the American Heart Association. To great amazement, the end research showed that the low-carb participants lowered markers for inflammation, triglycerides, and improved HDL, the so-called good cholesterol.
The low-fat group had more grains, starches, and sugars, and their total fat intake was 30 percent of their daily calorie intake. The low-fat diet produced stickier, dense LDL particles, which are known as the bad kind of cholesterol found in the bloodstream of patients battling such health conditions as metabolic syndrome, central obesity, and heart disease.
On the other hand, saturated fat forms more buoyant LDL particles that are less likely to clump together, a huge factor in the debate on cholesterol.
Healthy fats serve an important purpose in human health. Fat restrictions and an increase in processed foods are keeping people from making healthier food choices. In the end, a high-fat, low-carb diet can reduce your risk for heart disease and maintain a healthy weight.