High-protein diets have no proven effectiveness in long-term weight reduction and pose special risks for people with diabetes, according to a new Science Advisory from the American Heart Association. The advisory specifically targets such popular "quick weight loss" regimens as the Atkins, Zone, Protein Power, Sugar Busters and Stillman diets.
Very high protein diets are especially risky for people with diabetes, the advisory notes, "because they can speed the progression, even for short lengths of time, of diabetic renal disease." Other heart-related health risks of high-protein diets include:
- A diet rich in animal protein, saturated fat and cholesterol raises LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol). This effect is compounded when high-carbohydrate, high-fiber plant foods that help lower cholesterol are limited or eliminated.
- Foods such as fruit, vegetables, nonfat dairy products and whole grains lower blood pressure, so limiting these categories may raise blood pressure.
"Some of the diets increase fat intake and reduce nutritionally rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, which is not a good approach to meeting a person's long-term dietary needs," commented Dr. Robert Eckel, a co-author of the advisory. "Many of these diets fail to provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutritional elements, in addition to their high fat content."
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Nutrition Channel - Weight Management
Source: St. Jeor ST, Howard BV, Prewitt TE, et al. Dietary protein and weight reduction, a statement for healthcare professionals from the Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association. Circulation, Oct. 9, 2001;104:1869-1874.