To investigate whether moderate reduction in carbohydrate intake might affect cholesterol levels, researchers had a group of 178 overweight men eat a standard diet including 54 percent energy intake from carbohydrates for one week.
The men were then randomly assigned to continue the same diet, or switch to a 39 percent carbohydrate diet, or a 26 percent carb diet for three weeks. For an additional five weeks, men ate a similar diet but their calorie intakes were reduced to produce weight loss. In the final four weeks of the study, their energy intake was adjusted for weight stabilization.
Compared to the men who stayed on the standard diet, those with the lowest carb intake showed reductions in harmful triglycerides and \"bad� LDLcholesterol levels. They also enjoyed an increase in the ratio of \"good\" HDL cholesterol to total cholesterol levels, and other improvements in their blood fat profile.
These healthy changes were seen whether or not the men were eating less saturated fat, and whether or not they lost weight.
Researchers now believe carbohydrates, especially simple sugars or refined grains, can cause unhealthy changes in blood fats, by causing fat to collect in the liver, eventually leading to increased fat levels in the blood.
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