London: A low-carbohydrate diet may not be good for the heart as it has been linked with higher cholesterol levels, a study says.
The research, conducted in Sweden over 25 years, tracked the health of 140,000 people after it was noticed that occurrence of cardiovascular diseases was particularly high there in the 1970s.
A diet programme was introduced in 1985 which included better food labelling, cooking lessons, health information and dietary advice. By 1992, fat intake for men and women had reduced by three and four percent, respectively, and remained at that level until 2005, the Nutrition Journal reports.
Then, fat intake began to increase again and crossed the levels of 1986, while consumption of starchy carbohydrates fell. This was the time the Atkins diet was being promoted and became popular, according to the Telegraph.
The diet involves eating large amount of meat and fat while limiting consumption of carbohydrates.
Consequently, cholesterol levels began to increase once more despite the introduction of a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, Statins.
Ingegerd Johansson, professor from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, who led the research, said: "The association between nutrition and health is complex. It involves specific food components, interactions among those food components, and interactions with genetic factors and individual needs."
"While low-carbohydrate/high-fat diets may help short-term weight loss, these results of this Swedish study demonstrate that long-term weight loss is not maintained and that this diet increases blood cholesterol which has a major impact on risk of cardiovascular disease."