A new study, "Low carbohydrate-high protein diet and incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Swedish women: prospective cohort study" published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ.com) misses the point of low carb diets. The study is based off of interviews with 43 396 Swedish women, the interviews gauged their total carbohydrate and protein intake over 15.7 years and measured the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.

One would think that such a study might help settle the question of whether a low carb diet was heart healthy or not, but this type of study totally misses the point of going low carb (especially primal low carb). The study basically graded each person on a combined carb / protein score, additive combination of these variables (low carbohydrate-high protein score, from 2 to 20).

Anyone familiar with one of these diets can probably see several flaws in the study design.
  • Carbs must be reduced to a level where the body burns fat for energy.
  • All carbs are treated the same vegetable carbs and candy bars are equal
  • Most of these people weren't even on low carb diets, they simply measured intake
  • There was no associated exercise plan with the diet
  • No mention of vitamins or supplements, which are often needed on a true low carb diet
  • No mention of the quality of meat, e.g. grass-fed beef
  • Etc., etc. (post the flaws that you find)

Reducing carbs on a SAD diet by 10% does very little good. Often times people feel hungry and have less energy unless they reduce their carbs to the point where they burn fat for energy (100 grams of carbs and below) so they make up for this with high sugar. Additional sugar on a high protein diet is already known to be bad for cardiovascular health.

This study is already being used by the MSM to bash the Primal/Paleo diets, Atkins, etc.