I love it when I can be one of the first share the positive results of brand-new research on low-carb diets. In a study presented today at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine show that when overweight or obese people lose weight, whether through a low-carb or low-fat diet, they reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation occurs naturally when our body’s immune system fights off an irritant or infection or responds to an injury, but being overweight or obese also increases the risk of inflammation throughout the body. This type of inflammation is known as systemic inflammation and may increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke.
“Our findings indicate that you can reduce systemic inflammation, and possibly lower your risk of heart disease, no matter which diet—either low-carb or low-fat,” says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology. “The important factor is how much weight you lose—especially belly fat.”
While it’s great that both low-fat and low-carb diets can help you lose enough weight to lower your levels of systemic inflammation, researchers did note that participants on the low-carb diet lost more weight than those on the low-fat diet—28 pounds versus 18 pounds. The low-carb diet group also had a greater decrease in BMI and belly fat.
“In both groups, there was a significant drop in the levels of all three measures of inflammation,” says Stewart, indicating that a diet higher in fat and protein (such as Atkins) doesn’t interfere with the ability to lower inflammation, as long as you are losing weight.
We know that weight loss is not a one-size-fits-all approach—if Atkins is working for you, keep with it! You are not only shrinking your waistline but your risk for heart disease as well.