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Two Diets Linked to Similar Insulin-Sensitivity Effect

Last Updated: December 09, 2009.

Low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets had similar effects on insulin sensitivity in overweight individuals, but the latter diet was linked to a possible detrimental effect on vascular health, according to research published in the December issue of Diabetes.

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets had similar effects on insulin sensitivity in overweight individuals, but the latter diet was linked to a possible detrimental effect on vascular health, according to research published in the December issue of Diabetes.

Una Bradley, of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, U.K., and colleagues analyzed data from 24 healthy overweight or obese participants who were randomized to follow a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet (providing 20 percent of calories from fat and 60 percent from carbohydrates and vice-versa, respectively) for eight weeks.

The researchers found that both groups lost statistically similar amounts of weight (7.1 and 7.6 percent of initial body weight, respectively). They also had similar peripheral glucose uptake increase, inhibition of endogenous glucose production, and decrease in meal tolerance-related insulin secretion. However, those in the low-fat diet had a significant decrease in augmentation index, compared to a trend toward increasing in the other group.

"Both diets promoted weight loss from the central body region and were associated with comparable effects on insulin sensitivity. There was, however, a significant difference in augmentation index, a measure of vascular compliance, between the two diets that was not explained by changes in conventional vascular risk factors. This observation is of concern and, if confirmed, would suggest a potentially negative effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on long-term vascular health," the authors conclude.

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