Low-carbohydrate Diets Increase Levels of Low-density Lipoproteins

A new study reveals that individuals on low-carbohydrate diets do not lose more weight than people on high-carbohydrate diets.

Low-carbohydrate diets significantly increase levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and individuals on low-carbohydrate diets do not lose more weight than people eating diets that are high in carbohydrates.

A research team from the University of Colorado at Denver led by Dr. Teri L. Hernandez examined the rates of weight loss and LDL levels in a group of 32 obese adults. They were randomly assigned to either a low-carbohydrate diet, with 20 grams of carbohydrates daily or less, or a high-carbohydrate diet, which allowed for 55% of daily calories to come from carbohydrates. At the end of the six-week study, the two groups had lost about the same amount of weight — 13 pounds — but participants on the low-carbohydrate diet “had an average increase of 12 milligrams per deciliter increase in their LDL levels, up from 109 milligrams per deciliter (less than 100 is considered optimal); the high-carb diet group showed a 7 milligram per deciliter decrease, down from 102.”

The researchers also found that individuals on the low-carbohydrate diet had a greater increase of the levels of free fatty acids. The high levels of these acids decrease the ability of the liver to store glucose, which results in an increased chance for diabetes.

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN).

“Weight loss was similar between diets, but only the high-fat diet increased LDL-cholesterol concentrations,” the researchers wrote in AJCN. “This effect was related to the lack of suppression of both fasting and 24-hour free fatty acids.”