Over a six-week period, the researchers found reduced flow-mediated dilation in the arm artery in participants who were on the low-carbohydrate diet. Reduced flow-mediated dilation, as measured in this study, is an early indicator of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, flow-mediated dilation improved significantly in participants on the low-fat diet suggesting a healthier artery which is less prone to developing atherosclerosis.
We observed a reduction in brachial artery flow-mediated dilation after six weeks of weight loss on a low-carbohydrate, Atkins-style diet, Dr. Gutterman says.
Low-carbohydrate diets were also found to have significantly less daily folic acid than low-fat diets. Folic acid is thought to be helpful in reducing the likeliness of heart disease. This protective effect results from the antioxidant property of folic acid and its ability to lower levels of homocysteine, a naturally occurring amino acid that can be dangerous at elevated levels.
The low-carbohydrate diet provided 20 grams of carbohydrates daily and was supplemented with protein and fat content according to the Atkins diet recommendations. The low-fat diet provided 30 percent of the calories as fat, and was modeled after the American Heart Associations recommendations.
The composition of diet may be as important as the degree of weight loss in determining the effect of dietary interventions on vascular health, Dr. Gutterman notes.
Twenty participants between the ages of 18 to 50 with a body mass index ranging from 29 to 39 were monitored for the study, and the type of diet was randomly assigned to participants. Weight loss, flow-mediated dilation, blood pressure and insulin and glucose levels in the participants were measured every two weeks for the six-week study.
|Contact: Toranj Marphetia|
Medical College of Wisconsin