Women who regularly eat a low-carbohydrate high-protein diet are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease than those who do not.
More than 43,000 Swedish women were assessed over 15 years for the study, which is published online in the British Medical Journal.
Swap your breakfast egg for a bread roll
The researchers discovered that those who stuck to a low-carb high-protein diet were at a greater risk of suffering a cardiovascular event over that period.
If women increased their protein intake by 5g a day- the equivalent of one boiled egg- and decreased their carbohydrate intake by 20g- the equivalent of a small bread roll- their chance of cardiovascular disease raises by 5 per cent.
Lead author Professor Pagona Lagiou, from University of Athens Medical School, said:
“If my long-term diet changes by having one fewer bread rolls a day and one more egg, I will be at a five per cent increased risk of cardiovascular disease or death.”
The Atkins diet favours low-carb high-protein diets, and is popular among celebrities as a method to keep slim. It is chosen by millions of people worldwide, with and without health insurance, because protein keeps hunger at bay for longer.
But Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education for Atkins Nutritionals, said that the study was "misleading". Victoria Taylor, senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“This study highlights the need for us to achieve balance in our diets, rather than pitting nutrients against each other."
“Don’t feel you have to choose between carbohydrates or protein - a bit of both is better for your long term heart health.”
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012