A new study shows a vegetarian version of the Atkins low-carbohydrate diet may help people lose weight and lower levels of bad (or, LDL) cholesterol in the blood. The traditional Atkins diet consists of low carbohydrate foods and a high intake of animal protein. Although studies to date have shown the traditional Atkins diet may produce modest weight loss, these studies have not demonstrated a reduction in the major heart disease risk factor, LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels.
Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto in collaboration with researchers from Solae LLC, a leader in soy protein innovation and technology, published the first ever study to look at the effect of a modified version of the Atkins diet on both weight loss and heart disease risk factors. The study, which is published in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at weight loss and heart disease risk factors of subjects who followed a diet low in carbohydrates, but high in vegetable proteins that included soy.
Forty-seven overweight men and women with elevated blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels were given either a low carbohydrate diet where the protein came from vegetable sources including soy, or a high carbohydrate, low-fat, lacto-ovo vegetarian diet for four weeks. Calorie restriction was similar for both groups. There was similar weight loss and lowered blood pressure in both groups, however, the low carbohydrate, higher protein diet group also saw significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors like apolipoproteins, blood triglyceride levels and blood pressure.
Results showed that participants who ate a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet high in plant-based proteins, oils and fiber, lost weight and experienced improvements in blood cholesterol levels and other heart disease risk factors. These findings suggest that an eco-friendly version of the Atkins weight-loss diet – stressing plant proteins – is better than a high carbohydrate weight-loss diet at reducing risk factors of heart disease.
Numerous studies show that soy intakes may be associated with a lower incidence of certain chronic diseases, notably heart disease. These findings led to the authorization of a health claim for soy protein and heart disease risk by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999. The FDA-authorized health claim helps promote the daily consumption of 25 grams of soy for lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease.
For more information, visit www.solae.com