Monday, September 21, 2009

Diets Low in Carbohydrates Harmful to Arteries

If you’re a vegetarian interested in weight loss, it’s fairly unlikely you’ve considered a low-carbohydrate diet. “No-carb” diets are severely limiting for omnivores, and are essentially impossible for vegetarians, due to the meat heavy nature of the regimen. Many swear by its weight loss potential, but more evidence is here that a diet without carbohydrates is not a healthy option.

The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts recently conducted a study on lab mice to observe the effects of diets such as the once wildly popular Adkins diet.

The mice were divided into three groups – one received a baseline, typical “mouse diet”, the second consumed a diet high in fat, and the third ate a high fat, low carbohydrate diet.

Most of the results were expected. The low-carb group experienced the lowest weight gain levels and mice on the standard “mouse diet” enjoyed the lowest levels of arterial plaque. The one surprising aspect was that the low carbohydrate group had even higher levels of plaque than the group on the high fat menu.

Researchers could not explain the occurrence, but surmise that low-carb diets may interfere or impede bone marrow’s capacity to cleanse arterial walls.

Lead researcher Anthony Rosenzweig began the study himself on a low-carb diet. He stated, “It appears that a moderate and balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise, is probably best for most people.” Sound familiar? Rosenzweig has since stopped his low-carb ways.

While studies about unique health remedies like evening primrose oil for hormone balance and Coenzyme Q10 for gum disease linger unfunded, research continues to confirm what we already know: Balanced diets are healthy. Red meat in excess is unhealthy. Perhaps more research could be done to find out something we don’t already know – and perhaps leave the lab rats and mice out of it.

If it’s weight loss you’re after, as PETA says, “Lose the Blubber. Go Vegetarian.” Vegetarians are 20 to 30 percent leaner than their meat-eating friends, and less likely to suffer from heart disease and other illnesses. You won’t have to feel guilty about having that bowl of pasta or mashed potatoes – and you can feel proud to live without cruelty to animals.

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