This study was published in the Journal of Nutrition Vol. 139, No. 9, 1667-1676, September 2009
Study title and authors:
Carbohydrate Restriction, as a First-Line Dietary Intervention, Effectively Reduces Biomarkers of Metabolic Syndrome in Emirati Adults1,2
Taif Al-Sarraj3, Hussein Saadi5, Mariana C. Calle3, Jeff S. Volek4 and Maria Luz Fernandez3,*
3 Department of Nutritional Sciences and 4 Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269; and 5 Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirate University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
This paper can be accessed at: http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/abstract/139/9/1667
The author notes that the prevalence of diabetes in the United Arab Emirates is among the highest world-wide and that Metabolic Syndrome predisposes individuals to diabetes; therefore, any dietary interventions that may alleviate Metabolic Syndrome may help to prevent the onset of diabetes.
The study evaluated whether a high fat/carbohydrate-restricted diet could effectively be used to improve the characteristics of Metabolic Syndrome.
The study included 39 participants (14 men, 25 women) aged 18–50, who were classified with Metabolic Syndrome. For 6 weeks they all followed a high fat/low carbohydrate diet and then. Then for an additional 6 weeks 19 switched to the American Heart Association diet, whilst 20 continued on the high fat/low carbohydrate diet.
The diets comprised of:
(i) 20–25% carbohydrate, 50–55% fat, 25–30% protein (high fat/low carbohydrate diet)
(ii) 55% carbohydrate, 25–30% fat, 15–20% protein (American Heart Association diet)
After 6 weeks on the high fat/low carbohydrate diet the following was observed:
(a) Decreased body weight of 13%.
(b) Decreased waist circumference of 4.5%.
(c) Decreased body fat of 10.6%.
(d) Decreased triglycerides of 38.7%.
(e) There were also significant decreases in blood glucose, blood pressure and other inflammatory markers.
After 12 weeks:
(f) Those who continued on the high fat/low carbohydrate diet had larger decreases in all the above risk factors than those who switched to the higher carbohydrate/lower fat American Heart Association diet.
(g) The beneficial high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was increased by 7.22% in those who continued with the high fat/low carbohydrate diet for 19 weeks, whereas the HDL decreased by 3% in those who switched to the American Heart Association diet.
The results from this study suggest that the high fat/low carbohydrate diet is more effective than the low fat/ high carbohydrate American Heart Association diet in combating Metabolic Syndrome. As Metabolic Syndrome leads to diabetes; therefore the high fat/low carbohydrate diet is an effective diet therapy to combat diabetes.
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