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To gauge the impact of the popular Atkins-style diets on women's hearts, researchers in Greece turned to a food survey completed by more than 43,000 women in Sweden. The women, who were between 30 and 49 years old, recorded the frequency and quantities of food they ate over six months in 1991 and 1992.
Using the survey, researchers calculated which women were eating the least amount of carbohydrates and the most amount of protein. The women were then followed for 15 years on average to see who became diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. The women's food habits were not tracked long-term but did provide researchers a snapshot in time.
The study found 1,270 women developed heart problems. The incidence of cardiovascular disease was 62% higher among women who consumed the least carbohydrates and the most protein, when compared to women who weren’t regularly eating a low carbohydrate, high protein diet. By eating such a diet, the researchers conclude an additional four to five women out of 10,000 develop cardiovascular disease each year.