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Breakfast egg ‘can raise heart disease risk’

August 11, 2012
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the lower the intake of carbohydrates and the higher the intake of protein, the greater the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Millions have been converted to the approach, which work because protein keeps hunger at bay for longer.

But lead author Professor Pagona Lagiou, from University of Athens Medical School, yesterday (Tuesday) warned against sticking to such diets long-term.

She said: “We found that the lower the intake of carbohydrates and the higher the intake of protein, the greater the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“That applies to small differences as well, if they are habitual.

“If my long-term diet changes by having one fewer bread rolls a day and one more egg, I will be at a five per cent increased risk of cardiovascular disease or death.”

She went on: “This study is bad news for people who follow these types of diet for long periods of time. They should be very careful about dietary regimes, the long term safety of which have not been studied adequately.”

However, Prof Lagiou said she did not want to be “prescriptive” about eggs.

“I would just say, avoid going to extremes.”

She explained it was not the protein per se that was the worry, but the fact that high-protein foods tended to come from animal products high in saturated fat.

A medium-sized egg (boiled or poached) contains 78 calories, 6.5g of protein, a trace of carbohydrate and 5.8g of fat, of which 1.7g is saturated. These are not high amounts of fat but they are relatively high proportions. The yolk is much higher in fat and cholesterol than the white.

Advocates point out egg protein is extremely high quality and good value. That helps children build muscle mass, and adults – particularly older people – maintain it.

The British Egg Information Service notes that the Food Standards Agency recommends eggs as “a good choice as part of a healthy balanced diet”.

This latest study is not principally about eggs, but about the long-term effects of LCHP diets.

Importantly, the Swedish diet looked at was more extreme than Atkins: in the latter, carbohydrates are gradually reintroduced after the initial weight loss stages.

Other studies have found Atkins-style diets result in no raised risk to heart health.

Commenting on this fact in the BMJ, Anna Floegel from the German Institute of Human Nutrition and Tobias Pischon from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, said this discrepancy “needs to be resolved before low carbohydrate-high protein diets can be safely recommended to patients”.

However, they said in the meantime the short-term weight-loss benefits “seem irrelevant in the face of increasing evidence of higher morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular diseases in the long-term.”

But Colette Heimowitz, of Atkins Nutritionals Inc., said it was a “viable, safe, effective and sound diet”.

She said: “Fat poses no risk when carbohydrate consumption is low enough to allow the body to burn fat for fuel.

“This has been demonstrated in clinical trials time and time again, consistently supporting the conclusion that a well-constructed Atkins Diet actually lowers risk factors for heart disease.”

She continued: “To suggest this is a report on an ‘Atkins-style’ diet is extremely misleading. This observational study simply states that ‘fewer carbs’ and ‘higher protein’ intake was associated with higher incidence of heart disease.”

Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study highlights the need for us to achieve balance in our diets, rather than pitting nutrients against each other.

“Don’t feel you have to choose between carbohydrates or protein – a bit of both is better for your long term heart health.”

Article source: http://telegraph.feedsportal.com/c/32726/f/534871/s/20c08654/l/0L0Stelegraph0O0Chealth0Chealthnews0C93568550CBreakfast0Eegg0Ecan0Eraise0Eheart0Edisease0Erisk0Bhtml/story01.htm

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