Tuesday, February 24


"Diets high in plant-based fibers seem to stave off coronary problems," are the findings of a scientific survey headlined 'Good' Carbs Cut Heart Disease Risk. Data on 350,000 men and women from 10 different studies showed that for each 10 grams of fiber consumed a day, the risk of heart disease was reduced by 14 percent, and the risk of dying from heart disease by 27 percent. "If you are concerned about your risk for heart disease, one of the key features of your diet should be plant-based foods," says the author. "In order to include 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, your diet has to be primarily high-quality carbohydrates."

UPDATE 2/25: Oh, and you know that short-term study where people on Atkins not only lost weight but increased their "good" cholesterol? One nutrition professor believes that's because the test subjects weren't really doing Atkins.

    Dr. Carol Johnston, a professor of nutrition at Arizona State University, said the Foster study was fatally flawed, invalidating its "questionable" results.

    The biggest problem, Johnston said, was that participants were not rigorously monitored, allowing them to cheat on the diets. Her suspicion was borne out when Johnston, who analyzed Foster's study, found that 40 percent of the Atkins dieters were not in ketosis, a condition in which the body burns fat because there are no energy stores supplied by carbohydrates. Atkins depends on ketosis for weight loss.

    "The fact so many people were not in ketosis shows me they weren't following Atkins to the letter," Johnston said. "They were getting their carbs, making the study almost meaningless."
Another dietician adds that long-term effects from Atkins are probably not a concern because "Nearly everyone I know who started Atkins quit after a few months. They didn't like giving up so many carbs."

UPDATE 2/26: Good news about Atkins: Its popularity is a windfall for makers of laxatives. Hmmm, wonder why that is?

UPDATE 3/2: Bad news about Atkins: It puts you in a lousy mood. "A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found carbohydrates help to stimulate production of a key brain chemical called serotonin." And if someone craving carbohydrates "eats protein instead, he or she will become grumpy, irritable or restless. Filling up on fatty foods like bacon or cheese is no answer. That will just make you tired, lethargic and apathetic." Choice quote: "When you take away the carbohydrates, it's like taking away water from someone hiking in the desert."

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