A study by Johns Hopkins University has shown that a regular high-carb diet that is changed to include a little more protein or healthy oils can further curb heart disease risks, say researchers who had volunteers try three variations of the same diet.
This is a validation to many athletes diets that are slightly lower in carbs and slightly higher in protein but not as extreme as either end of the scale as a vegitarian diet or an Atkins style diet.
But the study involving 159 adults with borderline or mild high blood pressure found the best results with diets that replaced some carbohydrates with protein like nuts and dairy, or with healthy fats, like olive oil.
The findings don’t mean you should gorge on meat, or that carbs should be shunned. But the study involving 159 adults with borderline or mild high blood pressure found the best results with diets that replaced some carbohydrates with protein like nuts and dairy, or with healthy fats, like olive oil.
All three diets were low in saturated fats and required plenty of fruits and vegetables, and all improved blood pressure and cholesterol readings.
Adopting any of them would be beneficial and a big change for most Americans, said lead researcher Dr. Lawrence Appel of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
‘Most people aren’t following anything close to any of these,’ he said, adding that the bottom line is: ‘You can eat healthy in three different ways, and two of them are a bit better than the other.’
All participants tried each of the diets for six weeks, eating meals prepared in a research kitchen and taking a few weeks’ break before starting the next diet.
The volunteers’ average blood pressure was borderline high 131 over 77 before starting the study. It fell by an average of about 8 points while they were on the carb diet, 9.5 points on the protein diet and 9.3 points on the healthy fats diet.
Levels of LDL cholesterol, the bad kind, measured 129 on average at the start; 100 is considered optimal. LDL levels fell an average of almost 12 points on the carb diet, about 14 points on the protein diet, and about 13 points on the healthy fats diet.
Those reductions likely would translate into less heart disease if the diets were widely adopted, the researchers said.