An Isoenergetic Very Low Carbohydrate Diet Improves Serum HDL Cholesterol and Triacylglycerol Concentrations, the Total Cholesterol to HDL Cholesterol Ratio and Postprandial Lipemic Responses Compared with a Low Fat Diet in Normal Weight, Normolipide
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Centre for Alzheimer's Disease
Very low carbohydrate diets are popular, yet little is known about their effects on blood lipids and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. We reported previously that a very low carbohydrate diet favorably affected fasting and postprandial triacylglycerols, LDL subclasses and HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) in men but the effects in women are unclear. We compared the effects of a very low carbohydrate and a low fat diet on fasting lipids, postprandial lipemia and markers of inflammation in women. We conducted a balanced, randomized, two-period, crossover study in 10 healthy normolipidemic women who consumed both a low fat (<30% fat) and a very low carbohydrate (<10% carbohydrate) diet for 4 wk each. Two blood draws were performed on separate days at 0, 2 and 4 wk and an oral fat tolerance test was performed at baseline and after each diet period. Compared with the low fat diet, the very low carbohydrate diet increased (P ≤ 0.05) fasting serum total cholesterol (16%), LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) (15%) and HDL-C (33%) and decreased serum triacylglycerols (−30%), the total cholesterol to HDL ratio (−13%) and the area under the 8-h postprandial triacylglycerol curve (−31%). There were no significant changes in LDL size or markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α) after the very low carbohydrate diet. In normal weight, normolipidemic women, a short-term very low carbohydrate diet modestly increased LDL-C, yet there were favorable effects on cardiovascular disease risk status by virtue of a relatively larger increase in HDL-C and a decrease in fasting and postprandial triaclyglycerols.