Association of decrease in carbohydrate intake with reduction in abdominal fat during 3-month moderate low-carbohydrate diet among non-obese Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes

Metabolism. 2015 May;64(5):618-25. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2015.01.012. Epub 2015 Jan 29.


Objective: The effectiveness of a moderate low-carbohydrate diet (M-LCD) has been demonstrated in terms of glycemic control, body weight and serum lipid profiles. We investigated the effect of a 3-month M-LCD on visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and examined an association between decrease in carbohydrate intake and reduction in abdominal fat among patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Methods: Seventy-six patients (45 men and 31 women; mean age ± SD: 59.5 ± 11.1 years) with T2DM were instructed to follow an M-LCD for 3 months. We assessed abdominal fat distribution using computed tomography and macronutrient intakes from 3-day dietary records at baseline and after 3 months.

Results: The patients complied well with the M-LCD - %carbohydrate: %fat: %protein at baseline and after 3 months were 51:27:15 and 41:33:18 in men and 54:27:16 and 42:37:19 in women, respectively. VAT and SAT significantly decreased during the 3 months (P for time < 0.001 for both). Decrease in carbohydrate intake (g/day) and %carbohydrate were correlated with decrease (%) in VAT. The correlations were significant in men (Spearman correlation coefficient r = 0.469 for carbohydrate intake (g) and r = 0.402 for %carbohydrate) but not in women (r = 0.269 and 0.278, respectively). The correlations in men remained significant in multiple regression analysis adjusted for age and changes in energy intake.

Conclusions: In men, decrease in carbohydrate intake was significantly correlated with VAT loss during a 3-month M-LCD, independently of reduction in energy intake.

Keywords: Carbohydrate; Dietary therapy; Low-carbohydrate diet; Subcutaneous adipose tissue; Visceral adipose tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Weight
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted / standards*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Subcutaneous Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Subcutaneous Fat / metabolism*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Waist Circumference


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides

Associated data

  • JPRN/UMIN000003425