Vegan Health ArticlesThe Atkins Scientific Research – Deceit and Disappointment
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The Big Lie: Eating Steak Cuts Your Risk of Heart Disease (That’s What They Tell Medical Students [25] and the Public)

The fact is, eating fat and cholesterol increases your risk of dying of heart disease, strokes and other forms of atherosclerosis (kidney failure and peripheral vascular diseases) – and all major health organizations and almost all doctors and scientists agree.44 All well-designed studies show the total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol both increase with the Atkins Diet.[1,2,18] The May 2004 study, financed by Atkins and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, described two participants in the low-carbohydrate diet group (Atkins) who dropped out of the study because of concerns about elevated serum lipid levels.[4] In one participant, the LDL-cholesterol level increased from 184 mg/dl (4.75 mmol/l) to 283 mg/dl (7.31 mmol/l) in 3 months. Another participant’s LDL-cholesterol level went from 182 mg/dl (4.70 mmol/l ) to 219 mg/dl (5.66 mmol/l) in 4 weeks. Overall, LDL-cholesterol increased by more than 10% in 30% of the people on the low-carbohydrate diet.4 (Ideally, LDL-cholesterol should be well below 100 mg/dl, and probably, even below 80 mg/dl for people concerned about heart disease.)


The spin Atkins promoters use to minimize the impact of these negative findings is to point out the Atkins Diet lowers triglycerides, raises “good” HDL-cholesterol, and increases the amount of “less dense” LDL-cholesterol. Both triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol are considered of much less importance than total- and LDL-cholesterol in predicting the future risk of artery disease. For example, in the well-respected studies on the reversal of heart disease by Dr. Dean Ornish, participants showed reversal on his very-low fat diet, while at the same time their triglycerides increased and their HDL-cholesterol levels decreased.42 In the most important study yet published on the reversal of artery disease using cholesterol-lowering medications (like Lipitor), researchers found that “good” HDL-cholesterol played no role in predicting the condition of the arteries (growth of plaques).[43]

Their final effort to right the heart-disease-promoting wrongs of the Atkins Diet is to focus on the size of LDL-cholesterol. Some studies show the larger the LDL-cholesterol particles in the blood, the less the risk of heart disease in a population. The size of LDL-cholesterol is tied directly to both triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol. If you agree with me that these two values are of little value in predicting the effects of diet on real-life artery disease, then the LDL-cholesterol particle size cannot be the saving grace for the Atkins Diet.60 Furthermore, a very low-fat diet improves the LDL-particle size without the adverse consequences on blood cholesterol caused by the Atkins Diet.[39]

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.