Low-carbohydrate diets are very trendy right now, but following them in the long-term may spell doom for your heart. A new study has said that a diet that derives low amount of calories from healthy carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits and starchy vegetables may put you at a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is said to be the most common rhythm disorder. The study will be presented at the 68th Annual Scientific Session of American College of Cardiology (ACC), according to a press release published online. The study looked at the health records of 14,000 participants over a period of two decades and analysed their records to draw up the results. The study is said to be the first and the largest to assess the relationship between consumption of carbs and AFib.
AFib is a disease where the heart is prone to arrhythmia. It is a condition where the heartbeat doesn’t have a regular pace and common symptoms of the condition includes palpitations, dizziness and tiredness. People suffering from AFib are said to be five times more likely to have a stroke than those without the condition and it may even lead to heart failure! The research laid emphasis on the recent rise in popularity of low-carb diets like ketogenic diet, paleo diet and Atkins diet, all of which encourage dieters to focus on high intake of proteins, while banning foods rich in sugar and carbs such as grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
The study’s lead author Dr. Xiaodong Zhuang said that such diets should be recommended with caution, based on the results of the study. He added by saying that the long-term relationship between carb intake and cardiovascular health remains controversial. He also said that low-carbohydrate intake is linked with high incidence of AFib regardless of the quality of protein or fats consumed by dieters. For the study, researchers divided the participants into three separate control groups – those with low carb intake followed diet where carbs comprised less than 44.8 percent of daily calories, those with moderate carb intake had between 44.8 and 52.4 percent and finally those with high carb intake had over 52.4 percent.
Those with low carb intake were a whopping 18 percent more likely to develop AFib as compared to those with moderate carb intake and 16 percent more likely to develop AFib as compared to those with high carb intake. However, the study hasn’t been published in any peer-reviewed journal yet.