Benefit of Low-Fat Over Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Endothelial Health in Obesity

Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
Hypertension (Impact Factor: 6.48). 02/2008; 51(2):376-82. DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.107.101824
Source: PubMed


Obesity is associated with impaired endothelial-dependent flow-mediated dilation, a precursor to hypertension and atherosclerosis. Although dieting generally improves cardiovascular risk factors, the direct effect of different dietary strategies on vascular endothelial function is not known. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that a low-fat (LF) diet improves endothelial function compared with an isocaloric low-carbohydrate (LC) diet. Obese (n=20; body mass index: 29 to 39; mean systolic blood pressure: 107 to 125 mm Hg) and otherwise healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to either the American Heart Association modeled LF (30% fat calories) diet or an isocaloric LC Atkins' style diet (20 g of carbohydrates) for 6 weeks (4-week weight loss and 2-week maintenance phase). Brachial flow-mediated dilation and dilation to nitroglycerin were measured with ultrasound using automated edge detection technology (baseline, week 2, and week 6). Blood pressure, weight loss, and cholesterol profiles were measured throughout the study. Weight loss was similar in LF (100+/-4 to 96.1+/-4 kg; P<0.001) and LC (95.4+/-4 to 89.7+/-4 kg; P<0.001) diets. Blood pressure decreased similarly in both groups (LF: 8/5 mm Hg; LC: 12/6 mm Hg) at 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, the percentage of flow-mediated dilation improved (1.9+/-0.8; P<0.05) in the LF diet but was reduced in the LC diet (-1.4+/-0.6; P<0.05) versus baseline. Dilation to nitroglycerin and lipid panels was similar at 0, 2, and 6 weeks. Despite similar degrees of weight loss and changes blood pressure, LF diets improved brachial artery flow-mediated dilation over LC diets. LF diets may confer greater cardiovascular protection than LC diets.

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Available from: Shane A. Phillips, Feb 19, 2014
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    • "Several previous studies have evaluated the effects of HF and LF energy restricted diets on cardiometabolic disease risk factors [5-7,17]. In general, both of these diets have been shown to improve blood pressure, CRP, glucose, and insulin concentrations [5-7,17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Low-fat (LF) and high-fat (HF) weight loss diets improve brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in obese individuals, although results are conflicting. Moreover, the role that adipose tissue plays in mediating these diet-related effects are unknown. This study examined how modulations in FMD by HF and LF diets relate to changes in adipocyte parameters. Obese subjects (n = 17) were randomized to a HF diet (60% kcal as fat) or a LF diet (25% kcal as fat) for 6 weeks. Both groups were restricted by 25% of energy needs. Body weight decreased (P <0.05) in both groups (HF: -6.6 ± 0.5 kg, LF: -4.7 ± 0.6 kg). Fat mass and waist circumference were reduced (P <0.05) in the LF group only (-4.4 ± 0.3 kg; -3.6 ± 0.8 cm, respectively). FMD improved (P <0.05) in the LF group (7.4 ± 0.8% to 9.8 ± 0.8; 32% increase) and was impaired in the HF group (8.5 ± 0.6% to 6.9 ± 0.7; 19% reduction). Increases in plasma adiponectin (P <0.05, 16 ± 5%), and decreases in resistin (P <0.05, -26 ± 11%), were shown by the LF diet only. Greater decreases in leptin were observed with LF (-48 ± 9%) versus HF (-28 ± 12%) (P <0.05, diet × time). Increased FMD by the LF diet was associated with increased adiponectin, and decreased fat mass, waist circumference, leptin, and resistin. Beneficial modulations in vascular health by LF diets may be mediated by improvements in adipocyte parameters.
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    • "It has been shown that high-fat diets lead to endothelial dysfunction (Hennig et al., 2001), potentially worsening myocardial perfusion. One study investigating the effect of low carbohydrate diet on endothelial function (by brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation) showed no difference between low carbohydrate and a high carbohydrate, low fat diet in obese humans with risk factors for metabolic syndrome (Keogh et al., 2008), while another work found impaired flow-mediated dilatation in low carbohydrate diet in obese humans without risk factors for cardiovascular disease (Phillips et al., 2008). Focardi et al. found that LCD reversed endothelial dysfunction in coronary arterioles of obese Zucker rats through a mechanism independent of nitric oxide (Focardi et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Low Carbohydrate Diets (LCD) are a popular intervention for weight loss, but the effect of such diets on myocardial ischemia is not known. Myocardial energy substrates and insulin signaling pathways may be affected by these diets, and both may play a role in protection of ischemic myocardium. We investigated whether LCD increases susceptibility to cardiac injury during ischemia and reperfusion in the isolated rat heart. Rats were fed LCD (60% kcal from fat/30% protein/10% carbohydrate) or a control diet (CONT; 16%/19%/65%) for 2 weeks. Hearts from rats fed with LCD or CONT were isolated and subjected to normal perfusion in Langendorff mode, with 30 min global low flow ischemia (LFI; 0.3 ml/min) followed by 60 min reperfusion, or 60 min LFI followed by 120 min reperfusion. LCD diet led to an increase in 3-hydroxybutyrate and lower circulating insulin. LCD diet also resulted in impaired left ventricular performance during LFI, reduced recovery of function following LFI and reperfusion, and 10- to 20-fold increased injury as measured by lactate dehydrogenase release and histologic infarct area. LCD diet also led to lower myocardial glycogen stores and glycogen utilization during LFI, and lower insulin signaling as assessed by Akt phosphorylation at the end of LFI and reperfusion, but no differences in ERK 1/2 phosphorylation. These results demonstrate that LCD affects myocardial energy substrates, affects insulin signaling, and increases myocardial injury following ischemia-reperfusion in the isolated heart.
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