Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Popular diets linked to heart risks

Another gem from The Age in Melbourne by Chantal Rumble.

Popular high-protein diets may be increasing the risk of heart disease while reducing waistlines. (Here we go again. I understood Atkins et al. to be adequate protein, low Carbohydrate, medium (good) fat diets.) Who ever said they were "High protein? (except for dubious reporters and authors trying to sell more books?))

An Australian study of four weight-loss regimes has found that protein-based diets including foods with a high glycaemic index raise cholesterol levels, thereby increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The glycaemic index measures the impact of carbohydrates on blood-sugar levels. Foods with a high index rapidly boost blood sugars, leading to sharp peaks and troughs in energy, triggering hunger and making it difficult to burn fat. Foods low in the index give a more steady energy supply.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney, is published this week in US journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Author Joanna McMillan-Price said the results were particularly concerning given the popularity of high-protein, meat-based diets. "We are making a grave error if we encourage Australians to eat more and more lean meat if they are not eating more plant materials," she said.

The CSIRO's total wellbeing diet - and a best-selling book of recipes based on it - is among such diets.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet

Ms McMillan-Price called for an increased focus on glycaemic index rather than carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the battle against obesity. "Low GI is essentially a return to traditional foods instead of the processed foods that are on our supermarket shelves," she said.
(Is it any wonder she said this? She has written at least two books about Low GI nutrition.)

For 12 weeks almost 130 overweight or obese young adults followed one of four reduced-calorie, low-fat diets. 12 weeks. Gee, that seems like ages to test a fat (sorry I mean weight) loss diet.
The diet variations were:

· High carbohydrate, high GI.
· High carbohydrate, low GI.
· High protein, lower carbohydrate and high GI.
· High protein, lower carbohydrate, low GI.

The second and third diets were the best for weight loss overall. Participants on these diets, and particularly women, lost up to 80 per cent more than those on the first plan.

However, the third diet, based on high protein and high GI foods, dramatically increased cholesterol levels, raising participants' long-term health risks.
Do you think we should give Ms McMillan-Price a copy of Anthony Colpo's book for some desperatly needed education?

Ms McMillan-Price, who has published low-GI diet books, said the most effective regime was the high carbohydrate diet based on foods with a low GI, such as legumes, pasta, vegetables (except potatoes), sushi and basmati rice, and some wholegrain - but not wholemeal - breads. "And if you are going to follow a high-protein, high-meat diet, you need to make sure you have low-GI carbohydrates as well for good heart health," Ms McMillan-Price said.

- High-fibre flaky cereal and wholemeal toast
- Sandwich on wholemeal bread
- Rice crackers and fruit
- Jasmine rice and stir-fried vegetables
Worst in weight loss, little change in cholesterol

- Natural muesli or porridge
- Sandwich on low-GI wholegrain bread
- Fruit
- Pasta, legumes and vegetables
Best in weight loss, best in cholesterol

- Wholemeal toast and poached eggs
- Meat with salad and one slice of bread
- Nuts or fruit
- Big portion of red meat and vegetables
Equal best in weight loss, worst in cholesterol

- Natural muesli or porridge
- Meat, salad and one slice of low-GI bread
- Nuts or fruit
- Meat with small serve of lentils and vegetables
Fair weight loss, small reduction in cholesterol, but hard to follow.

It seems to me that no matter what diet she mentions, it has to include grains of some description! With information like this going out in the mainstream media, how are we going to survive as a species?

At least me and a couple of friends will still be around I guess.


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