Effect of dietary carbohydrate on triglyceride metabolism in humans

J Nutr. 2001 Oct;131(10):2772S-2774S. doi: 10.1093/jn/131.10.2772S.


When the content of dietary carbohydrate is elevated above the level typically consumed (>55% of energy), blood concentrations of triglycerides rise. This phenomenon, known as carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia, is paradoxical because the increase in dietary carbohydrate usually comes at the expense of dietary fat. Thus, when the content of the carbohydrate in the diet is increased, fat in the diet is reduced, but the content of fat (triglycerides) in the blood rises. The present article will review studies of carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia, highlighting data obtained in fasted subjects habituated to high carbohydrate diets, data obtained from subjects in the fed state, and metabolic studies investigating fatty acid and triglyceride synthesis in subjects consuming diets of different carbohydrate content. The available data have been recently expanded by new methodologies, such as the use of stable isotopes, to investigate the metabolism of sugars in humans in vivo. Given the significant increase in body weight observed in the American population over the past decade and the changing availability of carbohydrate in the food supply, future studies of carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia promise to provide important information of how the macronutrient composition of the diet can influence health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Fasting / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / etiology*
  • Postprandial Period
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Triglycerides