The effects of a low-carbohydrate diet vs. a low-fat diet on novel cardiovascular risk factors: A randomized controlled trial

Tian Hu, Lu Yao, Kristi Reynolds, Paul K. Whelton, Tianhua Niu, Shengxu Li, Jiang He, Lydia A. Bazzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increasing evidence supports a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss and improvement in traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) markers. Effects on novel CVD markers remain unclear. We examined the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet (<40 g/day; n=75) versus a low-fat diet (<30% kcal/day from total fat, <7% saturated fat; n=73) on biomarkers representing inflammation, adipocyte dysfunction, and endothelial dysfunction in a 12 month clinical trial among 148 obese adults free of diabetes and CVD. Participants met with a study dietitian on a periodic basis and each diet group received the same behavioral curriculum which included dietary instruction and supportive counseling. Eighty percent of participants completed the intervention. At 12 months, participants on the low-carbohydrate diet had significantly greater increases in adiponectin (mean difference in change, 1336 ng/mL (95% CI, 342 to 2330 ng/mL); p=0.009) and greater decreases in intercellular adhesion molecule-1 concentrations (-16.8 ng/mL (-32.0 to -1.6 ng/mL); p=0.031) than those on the low-fat diet. Changes in other novel CVD markers were not significantly different between groups. In conclusion, despite the differences in weight changes on diets, a low-carbohydrate diet resulted in similar or greater improvement in inflammation, adipocyte dysfunction, and endothelial dysfunction than a standard low-fat diet among obese persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7978-7994
Number of pages17
JournalNutrients
Volume7
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the study participants for their cooperation. Sources of funding include the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health (NIH/NCRR P20-RR017659) and the Tulane University Hypertension and Renal Center of Excellence.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Adipocytokines
  • Clinical trial
  • Dietary carbohydrate
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Inflammation
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity

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