Very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets affect fasting lipids and postprandial lipemia differently in overweight men.

"Very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets affect fasting lipids and postprandial lipemia differently in overweight men. Sharman MJ, Gómez AL, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS. Journal of Nutrition. 2004 Apr;134(4):880-5. "
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"Hypoenergetic very low-carbohydrate (VLC) and low-fat (LF) diets are both commonly used for short-term weight loss; however, few studies have directly compared their effect on blood lipids, with no studies to our knowledge comparing postprandial lipemia, an important independently identified cardiovascular risk factor. Aim: to compare the effects of a VLC and a LF diet on CVD risk (i.e., fasting blood lipids and postprandial lipemia) in overweight men."
6 wks each diet
"Targets E: 2.1MJ/d deficit (~500kcal/d) Carb: ~10%E Protein: ~30%E Fat: ~60%E Low-carbohydrate bars and shakes (Atkins Nutritionals) were provided. No restrictions on type of fat (saturated vs unsaturated). Intake E: 7.77MJ/d (~1856kcal/d) Carb: 36g/d; 8%E Protein: 130g/d; 28%E Fat: 130g/d; 63%E"
"Targets E: 2.1MJ/d deficit (~500kcal/d) Carb: ~55%E Protein: ~20%E Fat: ~25%E Saturated fat: 10%E Intake E: 6.54MJ/d (~1562kcal/d) Carb: 224g/d; 56%E Protein: 79g/d; ~20%E Fat: 39g/d; ~23%Etake"
"Primary: fasting blood lipids and postprandial lipemia Secondary: FBG, weight, fasting insuln, insuln resistance"
"Both the VLC diet and the LF diet resulted in SS, similar improvements in total C, fasting insulin and insulin resistance. The VLC diet SS improved fasting glucose, TG and TG:HDL-C ratio, whereas the LF diet did not. Both diets SS improved TG postprandial AUC and peak TG; the VLC diet was SS superior for AUC. Neither diet SS changed HDL-C. Weight loss with the VLC diet was SS superior to the LF diet. LF diet did not SS change any lipoprotein subfraction; the VLC diet SS improved several markers."
"HOMA-IR WG: Y BG: N Baseline→4 wks VLC diet 2.49→1.41 WG SS p<0.05 LF diet 2.49→1.74 WG SS p<0.05 BG NSS "
All subjects were in ketosis throughout the VLC diet period (per urine tests), indicating compliance with carbohydrate restriction target.
"Lipoprotein fractions (LPF) WG: Y BG: Y - with LF diet: No SS changes in LPFs; 42% subjects classified as ""pattern B"" shifting to healthier ""pattern A"" - with VLC diet: SS increases of larger LDL-1 fraction; SS decreases in smaller LDL-3 and LDL-4 particles; SS decreases in VLDL; 75% of ""pattern B"" subjects shifting to healthier ""pattern A."" "
" ...this study demonstrates that a short-term hypoenergetic LF diet was more effective at lowering serum LDL-C in overweight men, but a VLC diet was more effective at improving characteristics of the metabolic syndrome as determined by decreased fasting serum TG, the TG:HDL-C ratio, postprandial lipemia, and improved LDL subclass distribution. Thus, in principle, a very low-carbohydrate diet appears safe and may be more beneficial for individuals with metabolic syndrome...further research is warranted ..."


AHA - American Heart Association;
ALT - alanine aminotransferase;
AMDR - acceptable macronutrient distribution range;
AST - aspartate aminotransferase;
BG - between study groups;
BHOB - beta-hydroxybutyrate;
DBP - diastolic blood pressure;
E- energy, caloric intake;
eGFR - estimated glomerular filtration rate;
FBG - fasting blood glucose;
GGT - gamma-glutamyl transferase;
HDL-C - high-density lipoprotein cholesterol;
iGFR - isotope glomerurar filtration rate;
LDL-C - low-density lipoprotein cholesterol;
NAFLD - non-alcoholic fatty liver disease;
NR - not reported (or data needed for calculation not available);
N - no;
NA - not applicable;
NS - not specified;
NSS - not statistically significant;
SBP - systolic blood pressure;
SS - statistically significant;
TG - triglyceride;
total C - total cholesterol;
V - varied, mixed;
WG - within a study group;
WMD - weighted mean difference;
Y - yes

Number of People in Studies:

3,296 Enrolled in randomized controlled trials on 25% or less carbohydrates
2,626 Completed randomized controlled trials on 25% or less carbohydrates
79.67% 82% completion of studies

Duration of Trial

<6 Months
6-9 Months
1 -2 years
>2 years

# of Trials


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