As obesity levels increase, more American adults are dieting--at any one time, 45 percent of women and 30 percent of men are trying to lose weight, according to background information in the article. Those who succeed may reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes, control their hypertension and decrease their chances of cardiovascular disease and related death. Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets have become a popular alternative to the generally recommended low-fat, calorie-restricted diet, the authors report. However, because these diets contain large amounts of protein and fat, concern remains about their effect on cholesterol levels and the cardiovascular system, they write.
Alain J. Nordmann, M.D., M.Sc., University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues analyzed five previous clinical trials that compared low-fat to low-carbohydrate diets. A total of 447 individuals with an average age ranging from 42 to 49 years participated in the studies--222 on low-carbohydrate diets and 225 on low-fat diets.
After six months, those on low-carbohydrate diets were more likely to remain on the diet and had lost more weight than those on low-fat diets. However, after 12 months, blood pressure, completion rates and weight loss were the same for both groups. After six and 12 months, individuals on low-carbohydrate diets had increased total cholesterol levels and LDL levels. However, they also had lower triglyceride levels and higher HDL or "good" cholesterol levels.
"We believe there is still insufficient evidence to make recommendations for or against the use of low-ca
Contact: Alain J. Nordmann, M.D., M.Sc.
JAMA and Archives Journals