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Low Carbs, High Fat, No Problem

Maybe Dr. Atkins was right: a big new study says a low-carb—high fat, high protein diet—is better for us. We’ll look at what that means.

The `country breakfast' plate at the Stamford, Conn., City Limits Diner consists of eggs, house-made hash brown potatoes, sausage, bacon and ham, plus multi-grain toast from bread baked on the premises, as photographed Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2004. (AP)

The `country breakfast’ plate at the Stamford, Conn., City Limits Diner consists of eggs, house-made hash brown potatoes, sausage, bacon and ham, plus multi-grain toast from bread baked on the premises, as photographed Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2004. (AP)

Latest headlines in the unending stream of advice from science on your diet:  ditch the carbs, grab the fats and protein.  Years ago, fat was the taboo.  People fled to carbohydrates.  And boom went the obesity.  A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine now reports that people who avoid carbs and eat more fat and protein end up with better heart health and lower cardiovascular risk.  Even when it’s saturated fat.  If that makes you want to grab a juicy rib-eye steak, it’s not that simple.  But refined carbohydrates are getting the boot again. This hour On Point:  protein and fat versus carbs, again.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dr. Lydia Bazzano, internist and cardio-vascular researcher. Professor of epidemiology and medicine at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. (@DrDavidKatz)

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Michael Moss, investigative reporter at the New York Times. Author of “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.” (@MossMichaelC)

From Tom’s Reading List

Annals of Internal Medicine: Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat DietsA Randomized Trial — “Low-carbohydrate diets are popular for weight loss, but their cardiovascular effects have not been well-studied, particularly in diverse populations. A low-carbohydrate diet [can be] more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than a low-fat diet. Restricting carbohydrate may be an option for persons seeking to lose weight and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.”

New York Times: A Call for a Low-Carb Diet That Embraces Fat — “Diets low in carbohydrates and higher in fat and protein have been commonly used for weight loss since Dr. Robert Atkins popularized the approach in the 1970s. Among the longstanding criticisms is that these diets cause people to lose weight in the form of water instead of body fat, and thatcholesterol and other heart disease risk factors climb because dieters invariably raise their intake of saturated fat by eating more meat and dairy.”

USA Today: Low-carb diets: Studies differ on whether they are best — “Low fat or low carb, Atkins or Ornish, Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers – which diet is best for weight loss? Two new studies offer ammunition for those who say the popular low-carb approach is superior and for those who say all diets are pretty much the same.”

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