In animals, carbohydrate and fat composition during dietary interventions influenced cardiac metabolism, structure, and function. Because reduced-carbohydrate and reduced-fat hypocaloric diets are commonly used in the treatment of obesity, we investigated whether these interventions differentially affect left ventricular mass, cardiac function, and blood pressure. We randomized 170 overweight and obese subjects (body mass index, 32.9±4.4; range, 26.5-45.4 kg/m(2)) to 6-month hypocaloric diets with either reduced carbohydrate intake or reduced fat intake. We obtained cardiac MRI and ambulatory blood pressure recordings over 24 hours before and after 6 months. Ninety subjects completing the intervention period had a full cardiac MRI data set. Subjects lost 7.3±4.0 kg (7.9±3.8%) with reduced-carbohydrate diet and 6.2±4.2 kg (6.7±4.4%) with reduced-fat diet (P<0.001 within each group; P=not significant between interventions). Caloric restriction led to similar significant decreases in left ventricular mass with low-carbohydrate diets (5.4±5.4 g) or low-fat diets (5.2±4.8 g; P<0.001 within each group; P=not significant between interventions). Systolic and diastolic left ventricular function did not change with either diet. The 24-hour systolic blood pressure decreased similarly with both interventions. Body weight change (β=0.33; P=0.02) and percentage of ingested n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (β=-0.27; P=0.03) predicted changes in left ventricular mass. In conclusion, weight loss induced by reduced-fat diets or reduced-carbohydrate diets similarly improved left ventricular mass in overweight and obese subjects over a 6-month period. However, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid ingestion may have an independent beneficial effect on left ventricular mass.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00956566.