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Some research supports high-fat carbohydrate (CHO)-restricted diets for weight and fat loss and improvement of cardiovascular disease risk factors. To test this, a randomized crossover study was designed. Subjects (17 obese men and women [BMI: 30-38 kg/m2]) were fed three diets (supplying 1600 and 2200 kilocalories (kcal)/day for women and men, respectively) for 4 weeks, with each trial separated by 4-week washout periods. One CHO-restricted diet (10% CHO, 50% fat, and 40% protein content) was rich in plant foods and mushrooms, while the other CHO-restricted diet included more animal foods (10% CHO, 60% fat, and 30% protein content). The third diet was lower in fat and protein content (LF) and higher in CHOs (61% CHO, 21% fat, and 18% protein content). Body composition was assessed through hydrostatic weighing before and after each diet trial. Fasting blood samples were collected weekly for analysis of hormones and lipids. Data were analyzed through repeated measures analysis of variance with post hoc paired comparison t-tests. Weight and fat loss were similar (P > .05) among trials. Subjects lost lean mass (P < .05) during CHO-restricted trials, but not in the LF trial. Insulin concentrations decreased (P < .05) during the CHO-restricted trial and tended (P = .05) to decrease during the LF trial. Total cholesterol decreased (P < .05) for all trials; however, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased (P < .05) and triacylglycerols were higher (P < .05) following the LF trial. Taken together, energy restriction regardless of diet composition promoted similar weight loss; however, CHO-restricted diets based on either plants/mushrooms or animal foods elicited a more beneficial lipid-altering effect in comparison with the LF diet.


Mayumi Petrisko, Rebecca Kloss, Patricia Bradley, Erika Birrenkott, Audrey Spindler, Zachary S Clayton, Mark Kern. Biochemical, Anthropometric, and Physiological Responses to Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets Versus a Low-Fat Diet in Obese Adults: A Randomized Crossover Trial. Journal of medicinal food. 2020 Mar;23(3):206-214

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PMID: 32119803

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