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Three Popular Diets Studied for Effects on Lipid Profile

Last Updated: April 02, 2009.

The maintenance phases of the South Beach and Ornish diets reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, whereas levels are increased by the maintenance phase of the Atkins diet, according to research published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- The maintenance phases of the South Beach and Ornish diets reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, whereas levels are increased by the maintenance phase of the Atkins diet, according to research published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Michael Miller, M.D., of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a study of 18 adults who all completed a four-week maintenance phase of the three diets with a four-week washout period in-between, and who were assessed for the effects of the diets on lipids, endothelial function and C-reactive protein.

When the subjects were on the South Beach and Ornish diets, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was reduced by 11.8 percent and 16.6 percent, respectively, versus an increase of 8.1 percent on the Atkins diet, the investigators found. When the researchers used brachial artery testing to measure flow-mediated vasodilatation, they found there was an inverse correlation with intake of saturated fat.

"These data suggest that during weight maintenance, less favorable biological effects are observed during a simulated, high-fat Atkins diet when compared to the South Beach and Ornish diet," the authors write. "The findings support additional study in subjects with visceral obesity and the metabolic syndrome, in whom an increased risk of coronary disease at baseline may be accentuated with chronic consumption of a diet that exhibits unfavorable effects on lipids and endothelial function."

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