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J Nutr. 2009 Sep;139(9):1667-76. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.109603. Epub 2009 Jul 8.

Carbohydrate restriction, as a first-line dietary intervention, effectively reduces biomarkers of metabolic syndrome in Emirati adults.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences and 4Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.


The prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in the United Arab Emirates is among the highest world-wide. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) predisposes individuals to DM; therefore, dietary interventions targeting MetS biomarkers are a high priority. We evaluated whether a carbohydrate-restricted diet (CRD) could effectively be used as a first-line therapy intervention in adult Emirati to improve the characteristics of MetS. A total of 39 participants (14 men, 25 women) 18-50 y, classified with MetS, followed a CRD (20-25% carbohydrate, 50-55% fat, 25-30% protein energy distribution). After 6 wk, 19 participants were randomly switched to the AHA diet (55% carbohydrate, 25-30% fat, 15-20% protein) whereas 20 participants continued with the CRD diet for an additional 6 wk. Fasting plasma lipids, 24-h dietary recalls, body composition, anthropometrics, blood pressure (BP), glucose, insulin, and plasma markers of inflammation were measured at baseline, wk 6, and wk 12. Dietary analysis indicated high compliance. At wk 6, the CRD (n = 39) resulted in decreased body weight (-13%), waist circumference (-4.5%), body fat (-10.6%), and plasma triglycerides (TG) (-38.7%) (P < 0.001). Significant decreases in LDL cholesterol, BP, glucose, insulin, and inflammatory markers and increases in adiponectin (P < 0.05) also occurred. After 12 wk, positive changes persisted for all participants, independent of diet. However, body weight and plasma TG and insulin were lower in the CRD (P < 0.05) group than in the CRD + AHA group. Results from this study suggest that a 6-wk CRD can effectively be used as a first-line diet therapy to rapidly improve features of MetS and cardiovascular risk in adult Emirati.

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