SCIENCE: ARTICLES & LIBRARY


It’s a sobering fact: Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. Since February is American Heart Month, it’s an important time to make sure you’re doing everything you can do to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.

 

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following heart health tips:


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Recently, a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine received a flurry of media attention.
The study authors started by admitting that low-carbohydrate dieting was indeed effective, not only for weight loss, but for reducing insulin resistance, lowering triglyceride concentrations and for raising HDL (so-called “good” cholesterol). The researchers wanted to see if they could design a low-carbohydrate diet that retained the proven weight-loss benefits of low-carb plans like Atkins and also help people improve their cholesterol while following a vegetarian, vegan approach.   MORE
Over the years, thousands of people have turned to the Atkins dietary strategy of reduced sugar and carbohydrates for its demonstrated ability to help people lose weight and keep it off. But in the last decade, emerging research has shown over and over again, that the Atkins diet can actually accomplish even more than that. Studies have shown improvements in cholesterol ratios, lowered inflammatory markers, dramatically improved triglyceride readings and improvement in both insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Now a new study adds to this significant body of research and demonstrates the effectiveness of the Atkins diet for improving measures of a very serious condition called Metabolic Syndrome.

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A single-center randomized trial at an academic medical center in Boston, Mass., studied the health effects of popular diets in overweight or obese adults (mean body mass index of 35; range, 27-42) aged 22 to 72 years with known hypertension, poor cholesterol profiles or high fasting blood sugar. A total of 160 participants were randomly assigned to either the Atkins, Zone, Weight Watchers or Ornish diet groups.

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Summary:

Abstract (provisional)

Background

Increasing evidence supports carbohydrate restricted diets (CRD) for weight loss and improvement in traditional markers for cardiovascular disease (CVD); less is known regarding emerging CVD risk factors. We previously reported that a weight loss intervention based on a CRD (% carbohydrate:fat:protein = 13:60:27) led to a mean weight loss of 7.5 kg and a 20% reduction of abdominal fat in 29 overweight men. This group showed reduction in plasma LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides and elevations in HDL-cholesterol as well as reductions in large and medium VLDL particles and increases in LDL particle size. In this study we report on the effect of this intervention with and without fiber supplementation on plasma homocysteine, lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)], C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha).

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February is American Heart Month and for good reason. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, which is equal to 2,200 deaths per day. There are many factors that play a role in the development of heart disease. Some are genetic, which dietary manipulation will not affect. Others include: smoking, obesity, stress and sedentary lifestyle. Lipid disturbances such as high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low HDL and elevated lipoprotein are also a large factor.
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A landmark research study by Dr. Michael Shechter of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and the Heart Institute of Sheba Medical Center, with collaboration of the Endocrinology Institute, shows exactly how high carbohydrate foods increase the risk for heart problems.   MORE

The December 11, 2001, issue of Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), published a study by Tanne et al. of Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel. It reported on more than 11,000 individuals with coronary heart disease but no previous history of stroke or transient ischemic attacks (TIA). All were followed for six to eight years for risk of stroke or TIA. A stroke or TIA occurs when a blood clot or narrowed artery blocks blood flow to the brain. During the study, 487 individuals experienced such an incident. They were found to have triglyceride levels that were higher and HDLs ("good" cholesterol levels) that were lower than those of individuals who did not develop stroke or TIA.
The conclusion of the researchers was that triglycerides greater than 200 mg/dL increased the risk of having a stroke by 30 percent, independent of other risk factors. The authors suggested that physicians should pay closer attention to triglyceride levels. More effective screening and detection of high triglycerides and treatments to modify this stroke risk factor could further reduce the clinical and public health burdens of stroke.   MORE
The month of February is not just about flowers and chocolate (preferably a chocolate Atkins bar or shake). February is also American Heart Month. Take some time to be good to your heart, and share these heart-healthy tips with your friends and family.   MORE


Because of its effect on insulin, carbohydrate restriction is one of the obvious dietary choices for weight reduction and diabetes. Such interventions generally lead to higher levels of dietary fat than official recommendations and have long been criticized because of potential effects on cardiovascular risk although many literature reports have shown that they are actually protective even in the absence of weight loss. A recent report of Krauss et al. (AJCN, 2006) separates the effects of weight loss and carbohydrate restriction. They clearly confirm that carbohydrate restriction leads to an improvement in atherogenic lipid states in the absence of weight loss or in the presence of higher saturated fat. In distinction, low fat diets seem to require weight loss for effective improvement in atherogenic dyslipidemia.

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The objective of this meta-analysis was to summarize the evidence related to the association of dietary saturated fat with risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease inclusive of stroke) in prospective epidemiologic studies.

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Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported that the evidence that supports a reduction in saturated fat intake must be evaluated in the context of replacement by other macronutrients. An independent association of saturated fat intake with cardiovascular disease risk has not been consistently shown in prospective epidemiologic studies, although some have provided evidence of an increased risk in young individuals and in women. However, replacement with a higher carbohydrate intake, particularly refined carbohydrate, can exacerbate the atherogenic dyslipidemia associated with insulin resistance and obesity that includes increased triglycerides, small LDL particles and reduced HDL cholesterol.
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CONFUSION OVER CHOLESTEROL
Even people who have come to understand that olive oil and other oils are good for their hearts still see cholesterol as the dietary equivalent of the big bad wolf. The reality is far more complicated, but we’ll try to simplify it for you in The Cholesterol Myth
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Manufactured hydrogenated oils, which your body cannot digest, are a serious risk to heart health.   MORE
Research confirms the long-term advisability of eating foods with a low glycemic rating.   MORE
The overconsumption of sweet stuff has ruined our eating habits and contributed to obesity and other major health problems.   MORE
Even Atkins advocates who totally get it that the fear of fat is unfounded on a low-carb diet might still have some concerns about eating saturated fat. As a reminder, saturated fat is any fat that remains solid at room temperature, including butter and most animal fats, as well as coconut and palm oil.  After all, one of the ongoing criticisms of the Atkins Diet is that it contains more sat fat than is currently recommended. Let us put your mind at rest.   MORE
The main reason people over 65 wind up in the hospital is heart failure, also known as “congestive heart failure.” And the very best predictor of whether or not you’re likely to get heart failure might surprise you.   MORE
METABOLIC SYNDROME AND HEART DISEASE: WHAT’S THE CONNECTION?
Are you looking a little apple-shaped these days? You may have never heard of metabolic syndrome but if your waist is bigger than your hips, you might have it. And the condition is intimately linked to heart disease as well as diabetes. Find out what it is, how to prevent it and—if you already have it—how to treat it.
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Once and for all, it’s time to put an end to the myth that fat alone is responsible for high cholesterol.   MORE
Disclaimer: Nothing contained on this Site is intended to provide health care advice. Should you have any health care-related questions, please call or see your physician or other health care provider. Consult your physician or health care provider before beginning the Atkins Diet as you would any other weight loss or weight maintenance program. The weight loss phases of the Atkins Diet should not be used by persons on dialysis or by pregnant or nursing women.