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Low Carbohydrate versus Isoenergetic Balanced Diets for Reducing Weight and Cardiovascular Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Naude, Celeste E, Schoonees, Anel, Senekal, Marjanne, Young, Taryn, Garner, Paul ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0607-6941 and Volmink, Jimmy (2014) 'Low Carbohydrate versus Isoenergetic Balanced Diets for Reducing Weight and Cardiovascular Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis'. PLoS ONE, Vol 9, Issue 7, e100652.

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Abstract

Background

Some popular weight loss diets restricting carbohydrates (CHO) claim to be more effective, and have additional health benefits in preventing cardiovascular disease compared to balanced weight loss diets.

Methods and Findings

We compared the effects of low CHO and isoenergetic balanced weight loss diets in overweight and obese adults assessed in randomised controlled trials (minimum follow-up of 12 weeks), and summarised the effects on weight, as well as cardiovascular and diabetes risk. Dietary criteria were derived from existing macronutrient recommendations. We searched Medline, EMBASE and CENTRAL (19 March 2014). Analysis was stratified by outcomes at 3–6 months and 1–2 years, and participants with diabetes were analysed separately. We evaluated dietary adherence and used GRADE to assess the quality of evidence. We calculated mean differences (MD) and performed random-effects meta-analysis. Nineteen trials were included (n = 3209); 3 had adequate allocation concealment. In non-diabetic participants, our analysis showed little or no difference in mean weight loss in the two groups at 3–6 months (MD 0.74 kg, 95%CI −1.49 to 0.01 kg; I2 = 53%; n = 1745, 14 trials; moderate quality evidence) and 1–2 years (MD 0.48 kg, 95%CI −1.44 kg to 0.49 kg; I2 = 12%; n = 1025; 7 trials, moderate quality evidence). Furthermore, little or no difference was detected at 3–6 months and 1–2 years for blood pressure, LDL, HDL and total cholesterol, triglycerides and fasting blood glucose (>914 participants). In diabetic participants, findings showed a similar pattern.

Conclusions

Trials show weight loss in the short-term irrespective of whether the diet is low CHO or balanced. There is probably little or no difference in weight loss and changes in cardiovascular risk factors up to two years of follow-up when overweight and obese adults, with or without type 2 diabetes, are randomised to low CHO diets and isoenergetic balanced weight loss diets.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QU Biochemistry > Carbohydrates. Lipids > QU 75 Carbohydrates
WG Cardiovascular System > WG 120 Cardiovascular diseases
WG Cardiovascular System > WG 20 Research (General)
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0100652
Depositing User: Christianne Esparza
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2014 08:51
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:07
URI: https://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/3852

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