New Analysis Finds Low-Carb Diets Reduce Heart Disease Risk Factors

Obesity Reviews just published details of a recent meta-analyis of low-carbohydrate diet effects on cardiovascular risk factors.

A systematic review and meta-analysis were carried out to study the effects of low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors (search performed on PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Scopus databases). A total of 23 reports, corresponding to 17 clinical investigations, were identified as meeting the pre-specified criteria.

Over a thousand obese patients were involved.  By eating low-carb, average body weight decreased by 7 kg (15 lb), body mass index dropped by 2, blood pressure dropped by 3-4 mmHg, triglycerides decreased by 30 mg/dl, hemoglobin A1c dropped by 0.21% (absolute decrease), insulin levels fell by 2.23 micro IU/ml, while HDL cholesterol rose by 1.73 mg/dl.  LDL cholesterol didn’t change.

The authors conclusion:

Low-carboydrate diet was shown to have favourable effects on body weight and major cardiovascular risk factors; however the effects on long-term health are unknown.

I haven’t see the full text of the article yet, so I don’t know the carbohydrate level under review.  I bet it’s under 50 g of digestible carb daily.  My Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet starts at 20-30 grams a day.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference:  Santos, F.L., et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors. Obesity Reviews. Article first published online: 20 AUG 2012. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01021.x


Filed under Carbohydrate, Heart Disease, Weight Loss

2 responses to “New Analysis Finds Low-Carb Diets Reduce Heart Disease Risk Factors

  1. Stan

    “Low-carboydrate diet was shown to have favourable effects on body weight and major cardiovascular risk factors; however the effects on long-term health are unknown.”
    What always irritates me when I see conclusions from the studies you reviewed is the meme that we don’t know what long-term effect a LCD has on people’s health (BMI, BP, Trg, A1c, Insulin, HDL, and LDL) not telling us about a person’s “health” as for example correlating total cholesterol with higher risk of CVD or quantity of egg consumption cholesterol with plaque manifestations).

    Since Atkins in the 70’s onward to ancestral diet followers–both eating higher fat, LC and whole foods in contrast to the SAD of the same decades’ habits–we have literally thousands of lab rats (real people) who display superior, long-term better health eating this way. Are questionnaires of diet habits of individuals, long after the fact of food consumption, paid for by industry and their corrupted researches going to provide interested consumers valuable guidance to better health?

    Clearly, no.

    The blog comments of millions of dieters attesting to what constitutes success in health are priceless. The first person who ever tweaked their macronutrients to challenge CW of the C/P/F ratios found a key or tool to address obesity, IBD, fatique, diabetes, CVD and a host of ailments we are only beginning to understand come from a diet that consists of predominately, processed carbohydrates.

    Currently, the followers of “safe starches” advocates (mostly young and metabolically undamaged) proclaim that optimum health of restricted carbs is not possible long-term, i.e., low mucous production, dry eyes, insufficient brain fuel, etc. Well, of course if n=1 applications tell us anything–it’s that a potato, barley soup or bowl of rice CAN work wonders for the stomach and spirit in some persons, irrespective of foods adaptations/epigenetics forced upon their culture and still mimic some degree of health in the first three decades of life.

    My theory is that processed non-food, consumed in the toxic soup we call the environment– world-wide is killing us. We are losing the battle on so many fronts health-wise, I’m afraid LCDiets are only the tip of the iceberg in retrieving our optimum body functions.

    BTW, I appreciate your regular nuggets of thought-provoking information here and always look forward to your unique perspective.