Low carbohydrate diet linked to adverse vascular effects
In order to shed light on the long-term effects of low carbohydrate and high protein (LCHP) diets, researchers fed one sample of mice an LCHP diet and compared its health with a sample fed standard chow and another fed a standard Western diet (which has fat and cholesterol levels similar to LCHP.)
The results indicated that the mice on the LCHP diet developed more aortic atherosclerosis (a thickening of artery walls due to fatty cholesterol and triglycerides, linked to cardiovascular mortality) and were less likely to generate new cells when tissues experienced restricted blood supplies (ischemia) than mice in the other groups. The mice on the LCHP diet also experienced a reduction in cells related to vascular regenerative capacity, and their EPCs registered lower levels of AKt, a substance important to survival that plays key roles in various cellular processes.
The researchers conclude that within this animal population, an LCHP diet had "adverse vascular effects" that may not be adequately reflect in serum risk markers. Additionally, the study reinforces the important effects of non-lipid macronutrients unrelated to weight gain.