A diet low in carbohydrates could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke over the long term, according to a study by a group of researchers.
The research team, which includes academics from Harvard University, recently announced the study in the British Medical Journal.
The team examined the dietary habits of 43,396 Swedish women, aged 30 to 49, in 1991 and 1992. The participants were monitored for incidence of cardiovascular diseases for an average of about 16 years.
The group analyzed 1,270 cases of cardiovascular events, categorizing them into 10 stages, according to participants' intake of carbohydrates and protein.
Results showed that the incidence rate of cardiovascular disease increased by 4 percent at each stage, as carbohydrate intake decreased and protein intake rose.
In general, people who go on a low-carb diet tend to increase their intake of protein. The risk rate for the low-carb, high-protein group was up to 1.6 times higher than that of other groups.
It is believed that a low-carb diet increases the risk of cardiovascular disease because it reduces the intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals, while increasing intake of protein, usually accompanied by cholesterol and saturated fats.