News

Can a Low-Carb Diet Help Prevent a Heart Attack?

Researchers say yes, and note it can boost weight loss, too!

News

Can a Low-Carb Diet Help Prevent a Heart Attack?

Researchers say yes, and note it can boost weight loss, too!

It’s creamy, it’s delicious and it’s downright dangerous—at least that’s what we’ve been told for decades.

Yes, that’s right, we’re talking about fat. Over the years, we’ve all heard how important it is to consume the stuff in moderation, especially if we want to keep belly fat and heart disease at bay. However, new findings published in PLOS ONE contradict this long-held belief. Reducing carbohydrate intake may be far more effective than cutting back on fatty foods when it comes to heart health and weight loss, according to the study authors.

To come to these findings, the scientific minds behind the publication looked at 17 randomized studies of overweight people and then applied additional data from the National Institute of Health to predict the risk of disease. Their results showed that for overweight people, low-carb diets were 98 percent more likely to lower the risks of heart attack or stroke than a low-fat diet.

Those who followed a low-carb diet were also 99 percent more likely to shed pounds than those whose took in less than 30 percent of their daily calories from fat—and the weight loss was pretty substantial. On average, the low-carb group lost five pounds more than their low-fat counterparts. Researchers aren't certain why cutting back on starchy fare lowered the risk of disease, but they hypothesize that it has more to do with taking in fewer bagels and bread then taking in more fat.

Though this study was funded by Atkins Nutritionals, a low-carbohydrate packaged foods company, there’s still an important takeaway here: Cutting back on carbs and replacing them with sources of healthy fats (like these 8 Fatty Foods that Make You Skinny) can aid weight loss and protect your health—especially when you stick to foods rich in healthy fats like almond butter, dark chocolate and walnuts that have previously been shown to have these effects.

Eat This! Tip

Instead of overhauling your entire diet, start by swapping out starchy snacks for low-carb options rich in healthy fats (like many of these 10 Low-Carb Snacks for Weight Loss). Then, once that becomes a habit start making other simple swaps. Opt for a side of veggies instead of pasta or order a grilled chicken salad in lieu of a sub sandwich.