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Low carb Atkins diet reduces strokes: Sharon Osbourne used it to lose 30 pounds

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A new study shows that diets high in protein, such as the Atkins low-carb weight loss plan, can reduce your stroke risk and accelerate weight loss, reported Los Angeles Weekly on Tuesday. These types of high fat low carb diets have become popular among celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne, who used it to shed 30 pounds.

People who ate minimal or no protein were 20 percent more likely to experience a stroke, discovered study author Xinfeng Liu of Nanjing University School of Medicine in China. "If everyone's protein intake were at this level, that would translate to more than 1.4 million fewer deaths from stroke each year worldwide, plus a decreased level of disability from stroke."

Eating more protein decreased the likelihood of stroke. The risk of a stroke decreased by 26 percent for every additional 20 grams per day of protein, according to Physical Therapy Product News on Wednesday.

The analysis included other factors that could affect the risk of stroke, such as smoking. However, vegans did not experience the same benefits.

Researchers discovered that animal protein provides more than twice as much protection as vegetable protein. "These results indicate that stroke risk may be reduced by replacing red meat with other protein sources, such as fish," added the study author.

Eating that much protein can also help with weight loss, Atkins nutrition director Colette Heimowitz said in an exclusive interview on Thursday. She is the author of "The New Atkins Made Easy: A Faster, Simpler Way to Shed Weight and Feel Great -- Starting Today."

Colette explained to us that the protein provides dieters with a boost in calorie-burning while suppressing appetite because of the "increased satiety and more stable blood sugar levels." By following the Atkins approach of eating protein rather than high glycemic-index foods such as bread, dieters burn fat rather than muscle tissue.

"There are naturally occurring healthy fats in protein foods which contribute to the improved health benefits," said Colette about the high protein diet study. "Salmon for example is a real winner because it is high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids."

Atkins dieters count carbohydrates rather than calories, and "The New Atkins for a New You Workbook: A Weekly Food Journal to Help You Shed Weight and Feel Great" includes a detailed carb counter as well as pre-calculated meal plans to simplify the process. However, Colette estimated that a sample day for Sharon Osbourne equals about 1,900 calories.

For breakfast, Sharon usually enjoys a two-egg omelet with cheese and spinach. A mid-morning snack can include veggies and a low-carb dip such as hummus.

At lunch, Sharon eats protein such as salmon along with a vegetable such as asparagus and a side salad with creamy dressing. Her mid-afternoon snack typically includes turkey and cheese roll-ups, Colette told us.

For dinner, Sharon likes chicken with broccoli and another side salad. She's a fan of the Atkins bars for dessert, such as Atkins Endulge Peanut Butter Cups.

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