“Eco Atkins” Beats High-Carb Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian

While there is no doubt that for some people high-protein-high-fat-low-carb diets result in better short-term weight loss, this classic Atkin’s Diet has often been criticized for potentially increasing LDL (or “lousy”) cholesterol levels.

In a recent paper published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, David Jenkins (inventor of the Glycemic Index) and colleagues from the University of Toronto compare a plant-based low-carbohydrate (“Eco-Atkins”) diet on body weight and blood lipid concentrations.

Forty-seven overweight hyperlipidemic men and women were randomised to 4 weeks of either (1) a low-carbohydrate (26% of total calories), high–vegetable protein (31% from gluten, soy, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and cereals), and vegetable oil (43%) plant-based diet or (2) a high-carbohydrate lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (58% carbohydrate, 16% protein, and 25% fat). To make things easier, subjects were provided with 60% of their caloric needs by the investigators.

While weight loss was similar for both diets (approximately 4.0 kg), reductions in LDL-C concentration were greater for the low-carbohydrate compared with the high-carbohydrate diet.

From the limited information that one can derive from such a short-term study, it seems that the low-carbohydrate plant-based diet (Eco Atkins) has some advantages with regard to lowering lipids compared to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat weight-loss diet.

Does this study represent a breakthrough in dietary management of obesity? Probably not!

I rank it under “nice to know”.

Edmonton, Alberta