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Low-carb diet better than low-fat diet at improving metabolic syndrome

16.11.2005


Eating a low carbohydrate diet improves metabolic syndrome and may therefore decrease the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease associated with it. In an article published today in the open access journal Nutrition & Metabolism, Jeff Volek and Richard Feinman review the literature and show that the features of metabolic syndrome are precisely those that are improved by reducing carbohydrates in the diet. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of health signs that may occur together and indicate a risk for diabetes, stroke and heart disease.



The markers of metabolic syndrome - high blood pressure, low HDL levels, high triglycerides, obesity, high blood glucose and high insulin levels – are all improved by a low carbohydrate diet. By contrast, the evidence shows that they are not improved, and can even be worsened by low fat/high carbohydrate diets.

Previous research has never explicitly connected low carbohydrate intake and improvement of metabolic syndrome. The general recommendation to patients has been to focus on reducing fat intake. Volek et al. argue that the cause of metabolic syndrome is linked to insulin imbalance.


Carbohydrates are the main stimulus for insulin, and reducing carbohydrate can be effective at restoring insulin responses. So reducing carbohydrate intake, not fat intake, should be the main aspect of treatment for metabolic syndrome, the authors argue. This is supported by data from previous research, which shows that carbohydrate reduction is more effective than fat reduction at improving all the components of metabolic syndrome.

Juliette Savin | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com

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