One of many questions posed to low carbers -- is whether or not following a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet could possibly be damaging to heart health.
A chief concern is that consuming foods full of fat, particularly saturated fat, will raise cholesterol levels, thereby increasing the likelihood of atherosclerotic heart disease. It's not really surprising after all, for more than 30 year fats have been considered the primary food we should all be cutting back on if we want to avoid coronary artery disease. The USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans and My Plate promote whole grains, nonfat milk, fruits, along with other foods that are full off carbohydrates and low in fat as a way of decreasing cardiac risk. On the other hand, there's alarge body of research showing that lowering carb intake and increasing intake of fat (both saturated and unsaturated) can result in favorable modifications in serum lipids.
Below are a a number of the cardioprotective advantages of low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, high-fat diets:
1. Significant decline inserum triglycerides. Carbohydrates are really a potent stimulator of hepatic triglyceride synthesis and plasma concentration, particularly in the presence of insulin resistance. Lowering carbohydrate intake can reduce triglyceride levels, leading to lower cardiac risk.
2. Increasing amount of HDL cholesterol. Higher fat intake is positively correlated with improvements in HDL levels, and high HDL cholesterol is recognized as cardioprotective.
3. Improvement in LDL particle size, glycation, and oxidation. While triglycerides levels almost invariably decline with carbohydrate restriction, LDL cholesterol response appears to be more individualized. LDL has been viewed as the "bad" cholesterol for many years, and elevated levels will often be seen as increasing one's risk of arterial plaque formation and heart disease. However, looking at the amount of serum LDL itself gives us very little information about cardiac risk. It is primarily when LDL is oxidized and its particle size small that this lipoprotein becomes a problem. Restricting carbohydrate intake has been shown to reduce glycation and subsequent oxidation of LDL. A lower-carb, higher-fat diet tends to produce an increase in LDL particle size (known as Pattern A), whereas a great deal of dietary carbohydrate typically brings about smaller, denser particles (Pattern B) that increase the likelihood of atherosclerosis.
Individuals often say "If people do not eat whole grains and legumes, how can they consume adequate fiber?" Fiber, specially thesoluble type, has many health benefits. A low-carb diet can easily supply sufficient fiber if it contains lots of nonstarchy vegetables, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados. Technically a fruit, the average avocado contains about 12 grams of fiber, as well as 16 grams of monounsaturated fat.
Most dietitians won't endorse a low-carbohydrate diet including things like 6 eggs fried in butter with 4 slices of bacon for breakfast, 3 hamburger patties for lunch, and a 20-oz steak with a tiny green salad for dinner. While certainly nearly carb-free, it's missing a lot of beneficial phytochemicals found only in plant foods and contains only a couple of grams of fiber. But when asked their opinion they all firmly believe that a carbohydrate-restricted plan that includes the high-fiber plant foods as listed above could be a very heart-healthy way to go.