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Diabetes Care. 1995 Jan;18(1):10-6.

Why do low-fat high-carbohydrate diets accentuate postprandial lipemia in patients with NIDDM?

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Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California.



To understand why low-fat high-carbohydrate (CHO) diets lead to higher fasting and postprandial concentrations of triglyceride (TG)-rich lipoproteins in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).


Patients with NIDDM were placed randomly on diets containing either 55% CHO, 30% fat, and 15% protein or 40% CHO, 45% fat, and 15% protein for 6 weeks, followed by crossover to the other diet. Test meals at the end of each diet period were consumed at 8:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M. (noon) and contained 20 and 40% of daily calories, respectively. Vitamin A was also given at noon, and TG-rich lipoproteins of intestinal origin were identified by the presence of vitamin A esters. Frequent measurements were made throughout the 24-h study period of plasma glucose, insulin, and TG concentrations. Plasma samples obtained from 12:00 P.M. (noon) until 12 A.M. (midnight) were subjected to ultracentrifugation, and measurements were made of TG and vitamin A ester concentrations in plasma and in both the Svedberg flotation constant (Sf) > 400 (chylomicron) and Sf 20-400 (chylomicron remnant) lipoprotein fractions. In addition, very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-TG turnover rate was estimated by following the decay of [3H]VLDL-TG. Finally, postheparin lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase activities were measured at the end of each dietary period.


Mean +/- SE hourly concentrations of glucose (8.0 +/- 0.8 vs. 7.5 +/- 0.7 mmol/l), insulin (184 +/- 26 vs. 158 +/- 19 pmol/l), and TG (2.8 +/- 0.2 vs. 2.1 +/- 0.2 mmol/l) were higher (P < 0.05-0.001) after the 55% CHO diet. The 55% CHO diet also led to an increase (P < 0.05-0.01) in the mean +/- SE hourly concentrations of vitamin A esters in plasma (2.3 +/- 0.3 vs. 1.6 +/- 0.1 mumol/l) and in both the chylomicron (2.0 +/- 0.3 vs. 1.4 +/- 0.1 mumol/l) and chylomicron remnant fractions (0.36 +/- 0.04 vs. 0.14 +/- 0.03 mumol/l). In addition, the VLDL-TG production rate was higher (17.2 +/- 1.4 vs. 12.8 +/- 1.0, P < 0.003) and the VLDL-TG fractional catabolic rate lower (0.22 +/- 0.02 to 0.28 +/- 0.02 l/h, P < 0.005) after the 55% CHO diet. Finally, there was an increase in lipoprotein lipase activity (7.0 +/- 0.8 to 8.1 +/- 0.7 mumol free fatty acids released .ml-1.h-1, P < 0.02) in response to the CHO-enriched diet.


A low-fat high-CHO diet in patients with NIDDM led to 1) higher day-long plasma glucose, insulin, and TG concentrations; 2) postprandial accumulation of TG-rich lipoproteins of intestinal origin; 3) increased production of VLDL-TG; and 4) increased postheparin lipoprotein lipase activity. These data provide a mechanism for the hypertriglyceridemic effect of CHO-enriched diets in patients with NIDDM and demonstrate that multiple risk factors for coronary heart disease are accentuated when these individuals consume diets recommended to reduce this risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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