Pass the avocado! Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health last week announced the results of a pioneering 20-year-long study, which showed that low-carb diets--typically high in fats and proteins--don't necessarily raise the risk of coronary heart disease. The study, which tracked the health of more than 82,000 women, showed that cutting back on white bread and pasta--as advocated by the South Beach diet--doesn't boost chances of a heart attack. "The diet is healthy," says study co-author Frank Hu.
Of course, there's healthy, and there's even healthier. The researchers do not think the study should be interpreted as a license to go hyper-Atkins and eat as much meat as you want. "You should pay attention to healthy fats and proteins rather than just load your plate with bacon," Hu says. In fact, he and his team did find benefits to eating less meat--subjects who ate low-carb diets that took their fats and proteins from sources like vegetables and nuts cut the risk of developing heart disease 30%. --C.S.