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Keto low carb diets may increase risk of heart rhythm disorders study says

It has become popular to think that carbs are bad for you. Bread, pasta, rice, and even fruit, have been demonised as foods that will lead to weight gain. Nutritional advice from so-called “experts” has trained us to feel guilty for indulging in carby goodness.

But not all carbs are created equal, and more recently, studies have proven why low-carb diets are actually damaging your health. Now, the latest study shows popular low-carb diets (hello Keto, Paleo and Atkins) could increase the risk of heart rhythm disorders that can lead to stroke.

The research found that those who got less of their energy from starchy foods such as bread, pasta and potatoes, had higher changes of atrial fibrillation (AFib).

AFib is the most common type of irregular heartbeat, and sufferers are approximately five times more likely to have a stroke as well as being more likely to experience heart failure.

The findings, presented at a conference of the American College of Cardiology, used data from 14,000 people enrolled in a long-running study on heart disease risks in the US, who did not have AFib at the time they started. Participants kept a regular food and exercise diary.

22 years later and 1,900 of the participants developed AFib. The researchers then categorised them into three groups based on approximately how much of their daily caloric intake was from carbohydrates.

In doing so, they found those who regularly got fewer than 45 percent of their calories from carbohydrates were 18 per cent more likely to develop AFib than people who ate a moderate amount of carbohydrates (about 45 percent to 52 percent of their calories).

The researchers noted that the risk of AFib was raised no matter what types of protein or fat were used to replace carbohydrates.

“Considering the potential influence on arrhythmia, our study suggests this popular weight control method should be recommended cautiously,” said Dr Xiaodong Zhuang, a cardiologist at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, who led the research.

“Low carbohydrate diets were associated with increased risk of incident AFib regardless of the type of protein or fat used to replace the carbohydrate.”

The researches speculate this is the case as those who eat a low-carb diet opt for red meats and saturated fats, which has been linked to increased inflammation and cardiovascular conditions. They also consume fewer inflammation-fighting antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.

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