Low-carb diet may improve metabolic syndrome

December 12, 2007 in Healthy Eating, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Low-carb diet may improve metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes characterized by the combination of high blood fat (triglycerides), high cholesterol, abdominal obesity and high blood pressure.  People with this condition are usually told to eat a low-fat diet. Now, a new study is suggesting that a low-carb diet may be better for them.

A group of American researchers have found that markers of inflammation associated with metabolic syndrome showed greater improvement when people ate a low-carb diet as opposed to a low-fat diet.  Low-carb dieters also saw improved control of insulin and blood sugar levels.

Surprisingly, blood levels of saturated fat decreased in low-carb dieters even though they were eating three times more saturated fat than the low-fat dieters.

The researchers believe this effect may be explained by a process called carbohydrate-induced lipogenesis seen in people with metabolic syndrome. This means the carbohydrates they eat trigger fat production and storage.

The low-carb, Atkins-style diet has previously been found to improve weight control and heart health when followed for a short amount of time. However, the long-term effects of low-carb dieting remain to be seen.

In 2007, a study published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes determined that up to 20% of the population may be affected by metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other serious diseases if not managed through diet and exercise.   

For more information on how lower your risk of heart disease with diet, check out our Nutrition Strategies to improve blood cholesterol.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.