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Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008 Nov 7;5:30. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-5-30.

Moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein weight loss diet reduces cardiovascular disease risk compared to high carbohydrate, low protein diet in obese adults: A randomized clinical trial.

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Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.



To evaluate the metabolic effects of two weight loss diets differing in macronutrient composition on features of dyslipidemia and post-prandial insulin (INS) response to a meal challenge in overweight/obese individuals.


This study was a parallel-arm randomized 4 mo weight loss trial. Adults (n = 50, 47 +/- 7 y) matched on BMI (33.6 +/- 0.6 kg/m2, P = 0.79) consumed energy restricted diets (deficit ~500 kcal/d): PRO (1.6 protein and < 170 g/d carbohydrate) or CHO (0.8 protein and > 220 g/d carbohydrate) for 4 mos. Meal challenges of respective diets were utilized for determination of blood lipids and post-prandial INS and glucose response at the beginning and end of the study.


There was a trend for PRO to lose more weight (-9.1% vs. -7.3%, P = 0.07) with a significant reduction in percent fat mass compared to CHO (-8.7% vs. -5.7%; P = 0.03). PRO also favored reductions in triacylglycerol (-34% vs. -14%; P < 0.05) and increases in HDL-C (+5% vs. -3%; P = 0.05); however, CHO favored reduction in LDL-C (-7% vs. +2.5%; P < 0.05). INS responses to the meal challenge were improved in PRO compared to CHO (P < 0.05) at both 1 hr (-34.3% vs. -1.0%) and 2 hr (-9.2% vs. +46.2%), an effect that remained significant after controlling for weight or fat loss (both P < 0.05).


A weight loss diet with moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein results in more favorable changes in body composition, dyslipidemia, and post-prandial INS response compared to a high carbohydrate, low protein diet suggesting an additional benefit beyond weight management to include augmented risk reduction for metabolic disease.

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