Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets have been used successfully to prevent and treat coronary heart disease, although these diets have been shown to cause elevations in fasting plasma triglyceride concentrations. The present study investigated metabolic factors (glucose, insulin, body weight) associated with changes in plasma triglyceride concentrations in patients participating in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program, which included the use of a very low-fat diet designed to regress atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.METHODS:
Thirty-six patients were entered into the study and placed on a 10% fat diet. Body mass index and fasting plasma insulin, glucose, lipids, and apolipoproteins were assessed at entrance into and after 3 months of participation in the program. Statistical analysis (discriminant function analysis) was used to identify factors that predicted elevations in plasma triglyceride that occurred during therapy.RESULTS:
For the entire group, significant reductions in body weight (−2.4%), fasting glucose (−6%), total cholesterol (−8%), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (−11%) were observed, while insulin and triglycerides showed no significant changes. Twenty-one of the patients experienced an increase in fasting triglyceride concentration of 10% or greater.CONCLUSIONS:
Three variables (baseline body mass index and fasting triglyceride and insulin concentrations) accurately classified 90% of those who would experience a ≥ 10% elevation in triglycerides (P = 0.0002) and 67% of those who experienced no change. The present analysis provides a practical algorithm for clinicians to predict which patients will experience significant elevations in plasma triglyceride concentration when undergoing risk factor reduction that includes the consumption of a very low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.