It may be a popular weight-loss plan, but a new study warns that low-carb diets could be bad for your heart.

They may be all the rage, but could following a low-carb diet spell trouble for your heart?

People on low-carb diets, who get a low proportion of their daily calories from carbohydrates such as grains, fruits and starchy vegetables, are significantly more likely to develop atrial fibrillation (AFib), a common heart rhythm disorder.

This is according to a study which analysed the health records of nearly 14 000 people spanning more than two decades.

It is the first and largest to assess the relationship between carbohydrate intake and AFib.

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What is atrial fibrillation?

In this type of arrhythmia, the heart doesn’t always beat or keep pace the way it should. This can lead to palpitations, dizziness and fatigue.

People with AFib are five times more likely to have a stroke than people without the condition. It can also lead to heart failure.

Low-carb diets: Long-term effects are controversial

While there are many different low-carbohydrate diets including the ketogenic, paleo and Atkins diets, most emphasise proteins while limiting intake of sugars, grains, legumes, fruits and starchy vegetables.

“The long-term effect of carbohydrate restriction is still controversial, especially with regard to its influence on cardiovascular disease,” said Xiaodong Zhuang, MD, PhD, a cardiologist at the hospital affiliated with Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, and the study’s lead author.

“Considering the potential influence on arrhythmia, our study suggests this popular weight control method should be recommended cautiously.”

New study cautions against low-carbohydrate diets

Source: American College of Cardiology via www.sciencedaily.com

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