Atkins Heart Health Fact #3: Low-Carb beats low-fat when it comes to cutting your risk of metabolic syndrome


In four studies, authors specifically recommend that low-carb diets may help treat metabolic syndrome (risk factors associated with heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes) even better than low-fat diets. Here are the facts:

In a study of 122 patients in an outpatient weight and metabolism management program published in Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, patients lost weight on both low-carb and low-fat/low-calorie diets, but the low-carb patients also had a more favorable effect on triglycerides and HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

In another study published in the journal of Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, a retrospective chart review of patients on a low-carb diet (they were eating less than 20 grams of carbs a day) showed that the diet increased their good (HDL) cholesterol and lowered their bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.

In a 12-week study published in the journal of Lipids, 40 people with atherogenic dyslipidemia—an indicator of metabolic syndrome including high LDL levels, low HDL levels and elevated triglycerides—were put on either a  low-carb/low-calorie diet or a low-fat/low-calorie diet (each diet was approximately 1,500 calories a day). Despite the fact that the low-carb group was eating three times as many saturated fats as the low-fat group, the low-carb group had lower levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. The study authors conclude that low-carb diets help regulate insulin better, as well as improve many risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.

In an six-month study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 132 obese subjects with either metabolic syndrome or diabetes were randomly assigned to a low-carb diet or a low-fat/low-calorie diet. The low-carb group lost the most weight, with improvement in insulin sensitivity and trigylceride levels.

Learn more about these studies here:

Vernon 2004
Hickey 2003
Volek 2009
Samaha 2003

Go To:
Heart Health Fact #1
Heart Health Fact #2

Disclaimer: Nothing contained on this Site is intended to provide health care advice. Should you have any health care-related questions, please call or see your physician or other health care provider. Consult your physician or health care provider before beginning the Atkins Diet as you would any other weight loss or weight maintenance program. The weight loss phases of the Atkins Diet should not be used by persons on dialysis or by pregnant or nursing women.