Eating a low-carb, low-calorie, high vegetable protein diet (dubbed the "Eco-Atkins" diet) can help overweight people achieve weight loss and better blood cholesterol levels, according to new research published in the June 8, 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
In this study, Dr. David Jenkins and his team at the University of Toronto tested the effects of a low-carb diet that's high in vegetable proteins from soy, nuts, whole grains and other plant-based foods among overweight men and women with high "bad" LDL cholesterol levels.
For four weeks, 25 overweight adults consumed the "Eco-Atkins" diet, while an additional 25 people ate a control diet that was high-carb and lacto-ovo vegetarian (includes milk and eggs). Study food was provided to these people at 60 percent of their estimated daily caloric needs.
Between the two groups, weight loss was similar - about nine pounds (4.4 kg).
However, those who ate the low-carb, high plant protein, Eco-Atkins diet saw greater decreases in their "bad" LDL blood cholesterol and higher levels of "good" HDL cholesterol than their peers who ate the high-carb, lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.
The Eco-Atkins diet also resulted in greater reductions in blood pressure between the low-carb and the high-carb group.
Plant-based protein foods like beans, tofu, seeds, nuts and ancient grains (quinoa, spelt, amaranth) can provide up to 16 grams of protein (one cup of red kidney beans).
For tips and recipes using high-protein vegetarian foods check out The Raw Diet Revolution, a vegan cookbook and our March 2009 cookbook review.
For more information on how diet can improve your heart health, check Leslie Beck's Heart Healthy Foods for Life or booked an appointment to received a personalized preventive meal plan.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.