Is the Atkins Diet Killing You?

When Dr Atkins published an updated version of his low-carb diet in 2001, it took the western world by storm. Everyone with weight to lose was trying out his new diet theory. He advocated drastically reducing carb intake in bread, potatoes and sugar while permitting eat-until-you're-full quantities of bacon, meat, mayo and butter. It revolutionized eating for Americans who were raised on high-fat, carb-rich diets.

However, eating primarily protein and meat three times a day inevitably created some health issues in the long-term. Although low-carb choices were good for weight loss and management of diabetes, the lack of fiber was a concern to most health practitioners. It?s actually best if you add some fiber into your diet if you?re looking to lose weight. You can do this by eating lots of fruits and veggies or making a green drink using fresh produce and green supplements.

New Study shows the Importance of a Fiber-rich Diet

A new British study conducted at the School of Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds University analyzed a range of diet statistics collected from study participants in the USA, Europe, Australia and Japan. The study team, led by research postgraduate Diane Threapleton, looked at the participants' intake of total fiber, insoluble fiber, soluble fiber, cereal, fruit and vegetables.

The study also collected data from the participants on two types of heart disease as defined by the American Heart Association:

  • Coronary heart disease, which is defined by plaque buildup in the arteries that increase the risk of a heart attack
  • Cardiovascular disease, which covers all types of heart conditions associated with the cardiovascular system including the heart and blood vessels. This also covers strokes, heart attacks and heart failure.
The study found that those who had a diet high in fiber (total fiber, insoluble fiber, fruit and vegetables) had a lower risk of both types of heart disease.

Those who ate most soluble fiber had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease rather than coronary heart disease.

Participants who ate most cereal fiber had a reduced risk of coronary heart disease rather than cardiovascular disease.

The study concluded that good all-round fiber intake was proven to lower the risk of both types of heart disease. Unfortunately, as the Atkins diet includes very little fiber, it offered no protection against America's leading cause of death - heart disease.

Increase Daily Fiber Intake by 7 grams

Further findings were published in the British Medical Journal and showed that for every 7 grams of fiber consumed, there was a lower risk of both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. The recommended daily intake for fiber is between 20 and 38 grams per day, according to various different sources. However, very few people enjoying a western diet come anywhere close to meeting these quantities. Dr White, an assistant clinical professor at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut commented, "This may seem like a tall order for most folks, but can be achieved by making some small dietary changes."

Adding just 7g of fiber to your diet can easily be achieved
by adding any of the following to your daily diet:

1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal (7 grams)
1 1/4 cups shredded wheat cereal (7 grams)
2 slices of whole wheat bread (7 grams)
1 large pear (8 grams)
1 cup raspberries (8 grams)
1/2 cup black beans (7.5 grams)
1 tablespoon  (green supplement)

Other high-fiber foods include barley, bulgur, millet, quinoa, brown rice, rye, oats and whole wheat, along with fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

This simple lifestyle change, increasing your fiber by 7grams per day, could help reduce heart disease and benefit many thousands of people, according to the journal news release.


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