Harvard Heart Letter

Protein "package" matters in a low-carb diet

Getting more protein from plants and less from red meat pays off for the heart.

Low-carb eating strategies like the Atkins diet were once so popular that they graced the covers of Newsweek and other magazines. Some experts championed these diets as the best way to lose weight. Others scorned them as the heart-clogging way to do it.

Although the low-carbohydrate mania eventually died down, science is just now catching up with this concept. Several large randomized controlled trials — the gold standard of medical research — have shown that low-carb diets are as good as low-fat diets for losing weight, and may even be better. But how do they fare for long-term health?

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