Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Low Carb Diets Linked To Athersclerosis

You must have seen this story that hit the airwaves today - Low-carb Diets Linked To Atherosclerosis And Impaired Blood Vessel Growth. To be honest I think I will let those more qualified than me tear this story apart. GCBC will stay on the shelf for now....but that will not stop me reacting! There are one or two things that sent my paleo compass 'a-spinning'.
  1. I know enough of Inuit diets to know that whatever a low carb diet does in or to human arteries, it will be consistent with the expectations of several evolutionary mechanism that will have evolved alongside such a diet. Feeding a low carb diet to a mouse has questionable application to a human model - and by the same token if you fed salad to a shark, it would probably look like and old sock and move like deadwood within a few weeks.
  2. Follow the money. If you look down to the bottom of the article linked above you will see this little gem:
  • This study was supported by the Leducq Foundation Network of Research Excellence, an American Heart Association Grant-in-Aid, grants from the National Institutes of Health, and support from Judith and David Ganz and the Maxwell Hurston Charitable Foundation. Shi-Yin Foo is a trainee of the Clinical Investigators Training Program, jointly sponsored by BIDMC and Harvard/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Health Sciences and Technology in collaboration with Pfizer Inc. and Merck and Co.

Hmmm, major statin manufacturers supporting an anti-low carb message? Googling the authors (Anthony Rosenzweig and Shi Yin Foo) turns up a link to the Pfizer Clinical Investigator Training Program which is run at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. I smell salad-fed shark! The researchers conclusion is that,

  • "[f]or now, it appears that a moderate and balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise, is probably best for most people"

Read that last sentence again and note the use of non-committal and vague words and terms like 'moderate', 'balanced' and 'probably best'. Let's just say that any research that concludes with this piss-weak message is not worth getting too worried about.

I don't know enough about the specific macro nutrients involved nor the finer points of the study. Also I cannot seem to find a link to the actual paper - but I am no doctor so like I said, I will let the low carb big guns rip this one apart.

It looks like the big-pharma boys are getting worried and are sabre rattling!


Jonathan said...

The paper isn't available without a PNAS subscription, but here's the abstract:


How much you want to bet high-dose PUFA is involved?

Plus there's that whole "humans are not mice" thing.

Jonathan said...

Peter's comments here: http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2009/08/low-carbohydrate-high-protein-and-apoe.html

Aaron said...

Yes, it's interesting that statin makers would be funding this. Apparently they recognize their competition when they see it.

Asclepius said...

Jonathan - thanks for the links.

Aaron - ALWAYS follow the money!


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