Balanced diet best for arteries

28 August 2009

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Category: Research & medical benefits

bread–carbohydrates–diet.jpgA team studying the effect of diet on the cardiovascular system in mice have shown that a diet low in carbohydrates could lead to artery damage. Three groups of mice each received a different diet: a standard mouse type, a western diet (high in fat) and a low-carb, high-protein version.

Scientists looked at the resulting cholesterol levels and incidence of atherosclerosis (the build up of fatty plaque deposits in arteries) in the mice. They found that after 12 weeks, the low-carb diet had no effect on cholesterol levels. However, one sixth more of the mice eating the low-carb diet had developed atherosclerosis compared with the standard diet. The western diet produced an increase in atherosclerosis of around one tenth. 

This effect could be due to a reduced ability of bone marrow calls to clean the fatty deposits from the arteries for mice on a low-carb diet. The team conclude that a balanced diet is by far the best option for overall health, coupled with regular exercise. They recommend that at least one-third of the diet should be made up of starchy foods such as bread, rice and potatoes.