Effects of a carbohydrate-restricted diet on emerging plasma markers for cardiovascular disease
Increasing evidence supports carbohydrate restricted diets (CRD) for weight loss and improvement in traditional markers for cardiovascular disease (CVD); less is known regarding emerging CVD risk factors. We previously reported that a weight loss intervention based on a CRD (% carbohydrate:fat:protein = 13:60:27) led to a mean weight loss of 7.5 kg and a 20% reduction of abdominal fat in 29 overweight men. This group showed reduction in plasma LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides and elevations in HDL-cholesterol as well as reductions in large and medium VLDL particles and increases in LDL particle size. In this study we report on the effect of this intervention with and without fiber supplementation on plasma homocysteine, lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)], C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha).
Twenty nine overweight men [body mass index (BMI) 25-35 kg/m2] aged 20-69 years consumed an ad libitum CRD (% carbohydrate:fat:protein = 13:60:27) including a standard multivitamin every other day for 12 wk. Subjects were matched by age and BMI and randomly assigned to consume 3 g/d of either a soluble fiber supplement (n = 14) or placebo (n =15).
There were no group or interaction (fiber x time) main effects, but significant time effects were observed for several variables. Energy intake was spontaneously reduced (-30.5%). This was accompanied by an increase in protein intake (96.2 29.8g/d to 107.3 29.7 g/d) and methionine intake (2.25 0.7g/d, to 2.71 0.78 g/d; P < 0.001). Trans fatty acid intake was significantly reduced (-38.6%) while dietary folate was unchanged, as was plasma homocysteine. Bodyweight (-7.5 2.5 kg) was reduced as was plasma Lp(a) (-11.3%). Changes in plasma Lp(a) correlated with reductions in LDL-cholesterol (r = .436, P < 0.05) and fat loss (r = .385, P < 0,05). At wk 12, both CRP (-8.1%) and TNF-alpha (-9.3%) were reduced (P < 0.05) independently of weight loss. IL-6 concentrations were unchanged.
A diet based on restricting carbohydrates leads to spontaneous caloric reduction and subsequent improvement in emerging markers of CVD in overweight/obese men who are otherwise healthy.