Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women on a Low Carbohydrate Diet or a Low Fat Diet

The following information is available at Pub Med and was not written by Atkins professionals.

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

Brehm, B.J., Seeley, R.J., Daniels, S.R., et al., "A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women," The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 88(4), 2003, pages 1617-1623.

Summary:

Untested alternative weight loss diets, such as very low carbohydrate diets, have unsubstantiated efficacy and the potential to adversely affect cardiovascular risk factors. Therefore, we designed a randomized, controlled trial to determine the effects of a very low carbohydrate diet on body composition and cardiovascular risk factors. Subjects were randomized to 6 months of either an ad libitum very low carbohydrate diet or a calorie-restricted diet with 30% of the calories as fat. Anthropometric and metabolic measures were assessed at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Fifty-three healthy, obese female volunteers (mean body mass index, 33.6 +/- 0.3 kg/m(2)) were randomized; 42 (79%) completed the trial. Women on both diets reduced calorie consumption by comparable amounts at 3 and 6 months. The very low carbohydrate diet group lost more weight (8.5 +/- 1.0 vs. 3.9 +/- 1.0 kg; P < 0.001) and more body fat (4.8 +/- 0.67 vs. 2.0 +/- 0.75 kg; P < 0.01) than the low fat diet group. Mean levels of blood pressure, lipids, fasting glucose, and insulin were within normal ranges in both groups at baseline. Although all of these parameters improved over the course of the study, there were no differences observed between the two diet groups at 3 or 6 months. beta- Hydroxybutyrate increased significantly in the very low carbohydrate group at 3 months (P = 0.001). Based on these data, a very low carbohydrate diet is more effective than a low fat diet for short-term weight loss and, over 6 months, is not associated with deleterious effects on important cardiovascular risk factors in healthy women.

Commentary:

The following information was written by Atkins professionals.

Obese women were instructed to follow either a low fat, calorie restricted diet (30% of calories from fat) or a low carb diet for six months. The low carb diet was composed of two weeks of Induction followed by OWL (average intake at end of study was 97 grams of carbs per day). The women lost significantly more weight and body fat on the low carb diet than women instructed on the low fat diet at 3 and 6 months. Additionally, blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and insulin improved in both groups. The low carb diet was more effective than the low fat diet in achieving weight loss over a period of six months. In addition, the short-term use of the low carb diet was not associated with negative effects on heart disease risk.

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