December 02, 2001

Today's Topic: High Protein Diets and Weight Loss

Many fad diets are based on high protein, low carbohydrate menus. Analysis of daily menus shows they are simply low calorie diets masquerading as having unique metabolic effects. The American Heart Association Nutrition Committee reviewed these diets in the October 9, 2001 issue of Circulation.

The AHA is concerned that these diets are high in fat, and particularly saturated fat, which most research shows raises serum cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease. Most of these diets are deficient in many vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They also restrict fruits and vegetables which contain all sorts of healthful non-nutritive phytochemicals.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The diets looked at included the Zone, Dr. Atkins, Protein Power, Sugar Busters, and Dr. Stillman. The AHA concludes that in addition to the compromised micronutrient intake, people who follow these diets long term are at risk for increased heart, kidney, bone and liver problems. There are simply no long-term studies on safety or efficacy of these diets

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