June 13

New low-carb study

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Jeff Volek’s group published a study in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition showing the efficacy of low-carb diets (VLCD as they call them: Very Low Carbohydrate Diets)in dealing with blood lipid problems and even inflammation.
The state right at the start:

Very low-carbohydrate diets (VLCDs) are popular, but remain controversial. This review summarizes the latest studies that have examined the effects of VLCDs on lipoproteins and related risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Prospective studies indicate that VLCDs improve the lipoprotein profile independently of weight loss. Although not as effective at lowering LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), VLCDs consistently improve postabsorptive and postprandial triacylglycerols (TAGs), HDL cholesterol (HDL-C), and the distribution of LDL-C subfractions to a greater extent than low-fat diets. VLCDs also improve proinflammatory markers when associated with weight loss. Studies usually report mean lipid responses, but individual data indicate a large degree of variability in the magnitude and in some cases the direction (e.g., LDL-C) of lipoprotein responses to both low-fat and VLCDs. Such variability makes it hard to defend a single diet recommendation, especially considering the potential for low-fat/high-carbohydrate diets to exacerbate TAG, HDL-C, and other characteristics of the metabolic syndrome. Considering the effectiveness of VLCDs in promoting fat loss and improving the metabolic syndrome, discounting or condemning their use is unjustified. We encourage a more unbiased, balanced appraisal of VLCDs.

And conclude:

VLCDs consistently improve postabsorptive and postprandial TAG, HDL-C, and the distribution of LDL-C subclasses (i.e., the dyslipidemia of metabolic syndrome). There is an urgent need for innovative measures to address metabolic syndrome as a growing medical, societal, and economic problem. A primary problem with low-fat/high-carbohydrate diets is that they contribute to carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia, a major problem underlying the metabolic syndrome, challenging the appropriateness of current diet recommendations. Promotion of a single diet is not justified, given the known variability in response to the same diet. Considering the favorable and consistent outcomes in many carbohydrate-restricted diet studies, we encourage a more unbiased and dispassionate discussion of the relative merits of VLCD by the nutrition and medical communities.

The number of studies such as this one are mounting at such a rate that they won’t be able to be ignored for long.
It’s interesting that in the early days of low-carb when MD and I were out speaking and appearing on TV and radio programs discussing Protein Power we were constantly asked: where are all the studies?
Now the studies are there and are growing in number daily, and all these same people want to ignore them. At least they’re not still asking about where all the studies are.


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