The low-carb Atkins diet, which promotes eating more protein and fewer carbohydrates in order to burn stored fat, might help people drop pounds but may also hurt the heart according to researchers at the University of Maryland (UM) Medical Center.

According to the diet plan, fifty percent of calories come from fat, resulting in increased levels of bad cholesterol and a negative impact on blood vessel dilation, which can cause increased blood pressure.

atkins diet logoOn its website, the Atkins Company cited is own studies that show dieters lost weight, increased their good cholesterol, and lowered their triglycerides, a risk factor for heart disease. But the UM study compared three popular diets: Atkins; the low-carb, low-fat South Beach Diet, and the vegetarian Ornish diet. Researchers concluded that the Atkins diet puts people at a higher risk of heart disease after only one month.