Background: Low-carbohydrate diets have been used to manage obesity and its metabolic consequences.
Objective: The objective was to study the effects of moderate carbohydrate restriction on atherogenic dyslipidemia before and after weight loss and in conjunction with a low or high dietary saturated fat intake.
Design: After 1 wk of consuming a basal diet, 178 men with a mean body mass index (in kg/m(2)) of 29.2 +/- 2.0 were randomly assigned to consume diets with carbohydrate contents of 54% (basal diet), 39%, or 26% of energy and with a low saturated fat content (7-9% of energy); a fourth group consumed a diet with 26% of energy as carbohydrate and 15% as saturated fat. After 3 wk, the mean weight loss (5.12 +/- 1.83 kg) was induced in all diet groups by a reduction of approximately 1000 kcal/d for 5 wk followed by 4 wk of weight stabilization.
Results: The 26%-carbohydrate, low-saturated-fat diet reduced triacylglycerol, apolipoprotein B, small LDL mass, and total:HDL cholesterol and increased LDL peak diameter. These changes were significantly different from those with the 54%-carbohydrate diet. After subsequent weight loss, the changes in all these variables were significantly greater and the reduction in LDL cholesterol was significantly greater with the 54%-carbohydrate diet than with the 26%-carbohydrate diet. With the 26%-carbohydrate diet, lipoprotein changes with the higher saturated fat intakes were not significantly different from those with the lower saturated fat intakes, except for LDL cholesterol, which decreased less with the higher saturated fat intake because of an increase in mass of large LDL.
Conclusions: Moderate carbohydrate restriction and weight loss provide equivalent but nonadditive approaches to improving atherogenic dyslipidemia. Moreover, beneficial lipid changes resulting from a reduced carbohydrate intake were not significant after weight loss.