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Plant-Based Diet Helps Lower Cholesterol

Low-carb, plant-based diet improves heart disease risk more than conventional low-fat diets

TUESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- The so-called 'Eco-Atkins' low-carbohydrate, plant-based diet, produces better lipid-lowering results than conventional high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets used for weight loss, according to a study published in the June 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

David J. A. Jenkins, M.D., of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues conducted a small study of 47 overweight men and women with high cholesterol who were randomized to a diet of either 26 percent carbohydrates, 31 percent protein from vegetable sources such as gluten, soy, nuts, fruit, vegetables and cereal, and 43 percent vegetable oil, or a 58 percent carbohydrate, 16 percent protein, and 25 percent fat high-carbohydrate, lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. The study lasted four weeks and gave participants 60 percent of the calories they required.

The completion rate for the study was high, with 44 (94 percent) of the subjects finishing the study. Participants in both groups lost approximately 4 kilograms in weight, but the low-carbohydrate diet also produced better lipid- and blood pressure-lowering results than the high-carbohydrate diet, the researchers found.

"Important questions remain," the authors write. "Can the advantages be maintained if some of the vegetable protein is replaced by vegetable oil, and in this context, can carbohydrate intake be further reduced or is there an optimal carbohydrate load, perhaps determined by an individual's body mass index and insulin resistance."

The study was supported by Solae LLC. Study authors reported associations with the company.

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