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'Low-Carb Fraud' slams Paleo and Atkins plans: Plant-based diets win for health

Choose a plant-based diet for health, says expert.
Choose a plant-based diet for health, says expert.
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If you're feeling virtuous about rigorously following a high protein, high fat, very low carbohydrate diet, T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. has a warning for you: You may be harming your body. And the latest studies support his claim that low protein, low fat, high carbohydrate diets win for preventing conditions such as cancer and diabetes, reported Health 24 on March 5.

High levels of animal protein pose severe negative health consequences over time, according to the newest study. Researchers discovered that dieters on plans such as the Paleo diet and Atkins weight loss plan have four times the risk of cancer and diabetes.

So what's the best plan for longevity? Based on a three-year study by the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Center, it's a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates, reported ABC News on March 5.

"If you're interested in a longer life span and late-life health, then a diet that is low in protein, high in carbohydrate and low in fat is preferable," said professor of geriatric medicine David Le Couteur from Sydney's Anzac Research Institute.

Based on the results of the university's study, you can "eat as much of that as you like. You don't have to be hungry, you don't have to reduce your calorie intake, you can just let your body decide what the right amount of food is."

And Campbell concurs, detailing his own argument against low carb diets and for plant-based, low fat diets in his new book: "The Low-Carb Fraud" (click for details).

Because low carb diets usually involving eating large amounts of animal protein and fat, they raise your risk of diseases such as cancer and heart conditions, Campbell told Redbook magaizne in a recent interview. In addition, he warns that low carb diets"produce more halitosis (bad breath), headaches, rash, constipation, and muscle cramps."

As for the increasingly popular Paleo diet, Campbell calls it "nothing more than a slightly-tweaked version of what’s been around for years—Atkins, the South Beach Diet, etc. All are very low in total carbs and very high in protein and fat."

Campbell admits that low-carb diets are "great for losing body weight and sometimes slightly lowering blood cholesterol." However, he contends that "in the long term, low-carb, high-protein, high-fat diets cause high cholesterol—a major indicator of heart disease and cancer risks. Equally important, this way of eating minimizes the amount of plant-based, antioxidant- and complex carbohydrate-rich foods we eat."

Comparing low carb diets to the standard American diet, Campbell feels both are significantly lacking in the nutrients needed for health.

Complex carbohydrates, found in plants, are major suppliers of energy and contribute to stomach and gut health. The standard American diet is already too high in protein and fat, thanks to animal-based foods that displace healthful plant-based ones. Low-carb does that and worse, relying on protein and fat for 70 to 80 percent of total calories.

So what's the ideal diet for health and weight loss? Campbell recommends what he calls a WFPB plan: Whole, Food, Plant-Based diet.

For example, your meals on this plan would consist of veggies, fruits, grains and legumes. Off the menu: Fats, oils, refined carbs and salt. A sample day:

  • breakfast: hot or cold whole-grain cereal with lots of dried and fresh fruit
  • lunch: a vegetable-filled salad or soup
  • dinner: a vegetable stew with sweet potatoes or tacos with rice, beans, mixed vegetables, salsa, and guacamole.

Follow this plan, says Campbell, and you'll reverse existing diseases such as type 2 diabetes while preventing other conditions. In addition, studies show that "chronic pain—from migraines, arthritic, and neuromuscular—which affects about 20 percent of American adults, can be greatly lessened in a matter of days to weeks."

Learn more by clicking here for "The Low-Carb Fraud."

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