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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Apr;19(4):812-7. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.190. Epub 2010 Sep 2.

Transient increase in HDL-cholesterol during weight gain by hyperalimentation in healthy subjects.

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Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.


Determination of lipid levels is fundamental in cardiovascular risk assessment. We studied the short-term effects of fast food-based hyperalimentation on lipid levels in healthy subjects. Twelve healthy men and six healthy women with a mean age of 26 ± 6.6 years and an aged-matched control group were recruited for this prospective interventional study. Subjects in the intervention group aimed for a body weight increase of 5-15% by doubling the baseline caloric intake by eating at least two fast food-based meals a day in combination with adoption of a sedentary lifestyle for 4 weeks. This protocol induced a weight gain from 67.6 ± 9.1 kg to 74.0 ± 11 kg (P < 0.001). A numerical increase in the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol occurred in all subjects during the study and this was apparent already at the first week in 16/18 subjects (mean increase at week 1: +22.0 ± 16%, range from -7 to +50%), whereas the highest level of HDL during the study as compared with baseline values varied from +6% to +58% (mean +31.6 ± 15%). The intake of saturated fat in the early phase of the trial related positively with the HDL-cholesterol-increase in the second week (r = 0.53, P = 0.028). Although the levels of insulin doubled at week 2, the increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol was only +12 ± 17%, and there was no statistically significant changes in fasting serum triglycerides. We conclude that hyperalimentation can induce a fast but transient increase in HDL-cholesterol that is of clinical interest when estimating cardiovascular risk based on serum lipid levels.


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