Variations in the size and density distributions of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles have been related to risk for cardiovascular disease. In particular, increased levels of small, dense LDL particles, together with reduced levels of large HDL and increases in small HDL, are integral features of the atherogenic dyslipidemia found in patients with insulin resistance, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Increased dietary carbohydrates, particularly simple sugars and starches with high glycemic index, can increase levels of small, dense LDL and HDL, primarily by mechanisms that involve increasing plasma triglyceride concentrations. Low-carbohydrate diets may have the opposite effects. Diets with differing fatty acid composition can also influence LDL and HDL particle distributions.