According to new research, a low-carb diet high in plant-based proteins may help lower heart disease risk factors in overweight people.
Canadian scientists from St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto divided a total of 50 overweight men and women with high LDL (or "bad") cholesterol levels into two groups of 25 participants. One group was assigned to eat a low-carbohydrate diet high in vegetable proteins from gluten, soy, nuts, fruits, vegetables, cereals and vegetable oils for four weeks.
Meanwhile, the other group consumed a control diet that was high-carbohydrate, lacto-ovo vegetarian and based on low-fat dairy and whole grain products.
At the end of the study period, the weight loss of about 8.8 pounds was similar in both groups, but reductions in LDL cholesterol levels and improvements in the ratios between total cholesterol and HDL were greater for the low-carbohydrate diet participants.
High LDL cholesterol levels have been linked to a range of cardiovascular disorders, including atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
The study results were reported in the June 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.