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Research Updates | Cardiovascular disease

Effects of low-carbohydrate diets vs low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors

02 / 05 / 16

Previous studies of low carbohydrate diets on body weight and CVD risk have found varying results. This meta-analysis of 11 eligible RCTS (n=1369) assessed the effects of low carbohydrate (LC; 20%E) vs low fat (LF) diets on weight loss and CVD.

Subjects on LC diets lost more weight (Weighted Mean Difference 2.17kg) and a greater reduction in triglycerides, but a greater increase in HDL and LDL cholesterol. This analysis shows beneficial changes in LC diets must be weighed against the detrimental effects of increased LDL cholesterol.

The limitations of this research include: the diets varied in their level of support from none to high; dietary adherence was poor; the subjects were all healthy so results may not apply to people with metabolic disease; no hard end points such as CVD mortality were examined.

Mansoor N, Vinknes KJ, Veierød MB, Retterstøl K.  Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br. J. Nutr [Internet] 2016; 115:466-479. Available from: doi:10.1017/S0007114515004699.