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Arterioscler Thromb. 1991 Jul-Aug;11(4):1059-67.

Will a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet lower plasma lipids and lipoproteins without producing hypertriglyceridemia?

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Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201-3098.


A sudden increase in dietary carbohydrate invariably increases the plasma levels of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and triglyceride. The present studies were designed to test the hypothesis that dietary carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia need not occur. In the first study we fed gradually increasing amounts of carbohydrate and gradually decreasing amounts of fat to eight subjects. The usual American diet (40% fat, 45% carbohydrate, and 15% protein) was followed in sequence by four diets in a phased regimen, the carbohydrate increasing by 5% of total calories and the fat content decreasing by 5% for each dietary period. In the last dietary period (phase 4), 20% of the energy was in the form of fat and 65% in the form of carbohydrates; the cholesterol content was 100 mg/day. Throughout the study, plasma triglyceride and VLDL triglyceride levels did not change significantly. The plasma total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels were greatly reduced, by 15% and 22%, respectively (p = 0.004). Plasma high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels decreased concomitantly. In the second study, after a washout period six of the subjects were initially fed the phase 4 high-carbohydrate diet for a 10-day period. The plasma triglyceride concentration increased over baseline levels by 47%, and VLDL triglyceride levels increased by 73%. We conclude that although a sudden increase in dietary carbohydrate increases the plasma triglyceride level, patients gradually introduced to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet may achieve a significant reduction of plasma total and LDL cholesterol without developing carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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