Exchanging carbohydrate or protein for fat improves lipid-related cardiovascular risk profile in overweight men and women when consumed ad libitum

Mario Kratz, David S. Weigle, Patricia A. Breen, Kaatje E. Meeuws, Verna R. Burden, Holly S. Callahan, Colleen C. Matthys, Jonathan Q. Purnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The impact of low-fat diets on the plasma lipoprotein profile is incompletely understood. Methods: We conducted two 16-week dietary studies to compare the effects of a moderate-fat (mod-FAT) baseline diet with isocaloric and ad libitum low-fat diets rich in either carbohydrates (high-CHO, n = 16) or protein (high-PRO, n = 19) on plasma lipids, postYheparin lipase activities, cholesteryl ester transfer protein, and phospholipid transfer protein. Results: Switching from the mod-FAT to the isocaloric high-CHO diet lowered plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations (P < 0.001) and tended to increase triglyceride levels (P = 0.087). Cholesterol content in the larger, buoyant low-density lipoprotein (LDL) fractions decreased, whereas those of the very-low-density lipoprotein, intermediate-density lipoprotein, and smaller, denser LDL fractions tended to increase. These changes were largely reversed when subjects lost weight by consuming this high-CHO diet ad libitum. Switching from the mod-FAT diet to the isocaloric high-PRO diet did not increase cholesterol content in the small-dense LDL fraction and led to decreases in both LDL and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in plasma (P < 0.001 for both) Consumption of the high-protein ad libitum diet accompanied by weight loss did not change plasma lipids further, except for a shift of cholesterol from dense low-density lipoprotein fractions to more buoyant low-density lipoprotein fractions. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein concentrations decreased with high-cholesterol feeding, whereas cholesteryl ester transfer protein concentrations and hepatic lipase and phospholipid transfer protein activities all decreased during high-protein feeding. Conclusions: Both high-CHO and high-PRO diets improve plasma lipidYrelated risk of cardiovascular disease when consumed ad libitum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-719
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Investigative Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Carbohydrate
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Fat
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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