Different types of food can produce very different results. Most dietary research are large population based studies where the participants fill out food questionnaires. While these studies can be interesting and give us some basic information related to which foods are healthy and which ones are not, this type of research will never be as reliable as when a group of people are put on a specific diet and compared with a group eating a different diet. This is especially true if the participants are tested in a reliable and accurate way at the start of the study and also at the end. I think you will find this interesting especially since there are many people who have been recommended and believe that a diet very low in carbohydrates and high in protein is going to help prevent cardiovascular disease as well as other inflammatory driven conditions. When a group of participants eating a plant based diet (a vegan diet) were compared with a group eating a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, this is what was found after one year. First, these participants were evaluated very thoroughly at the beginning and at the end of the study using myocardial perfusion imaging, echocardiography and several blood tests (Fleming RM, 2000). The group eating the plant based diet improved their cardiovascular function and had less plaque in their arteries when measured one year later. How did the low carbohydrate, high protein group do? Not that good. They had more plaque then when they started a year ago, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease like fibrinogen a clotting factor, Lp(a) and CRP an inflammatory marker were all worse. When 43,396 Swedish women were followed up after an average of 15.7 years, it was found that low carbohydrate-high protein diets used on a regular basis increased the risk for cardiovascular disease(Laqiou P, et al. 2012). The Paleo diet may not be such a good idea. Does this mean that you would do well as long as you just avoid animal products? No, not at all. All types of carbohydrates are not equal, and certainly not all kinds are good for you. We also have the issue of fat. There are now people recommending a lot of fat, including saturated fat like butter. I will explain more about these things next week. It will be interesting.
Fleming RM1. The effect of high-protein diets on coronary blood flow. Angiology. 2000 Oct;51(10):817-26.
Lagiou P1, Sandin S, Lof M, Trichopoulos D, Adami HO, Weiderpass E. Low carbohydrate-high protein diet and incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Swedish women: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2012 Jun 26;344:e4026. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e4026.
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