Differential effects of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on inflammation and endothelial function in diabetes

Nichola J. Davis, Jill P. Crandall, Srikanth Gajavelli, Joan W. Berman, Nora Tomuta, Judith Wylie-Rosett, Stuart D. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: To characterize acute (postprandial) and chronic (after a 6-month period of weight loss) effects of a low-carbohydrate vs. a low-fat diet on subclinical markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adults with type 2 diabetes. Design: At baseline and 6 months, measures of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM) and soluble E-selectin were obtained from archived samples (n=51) of participants randomized in a clinical trial comparing a low-carbohydrate and a low-fat diet. In a subset of participants (n=27), postprandial measures of these markers were obtained 3 h after a low-carbohydrate or low-fat liquid meal. Endothelial function was also measured by reactive hyperemic peripheral arterial tonometry during the meal test. Paired t tests and unpaired t tests compared within- and between-group changes. Results: There were no significant differences observed in postprandial measures of inflammation or endothelial function. After 6 months, CRP (mean±S.E.) decreased in the low-fat arm from 4.0±0.77 to 3.0±0.77 (P=.01). In the low-carbohydrate arm, sICAM decreased from 234±22 to 199±23 (P=.001), and soluble E-selectin decreased from 93±10 to 82±10 (P=.05.) A significant correlation between change in high-density lipoprotein and change in soluble E-selectin (r=-0.33, P=.04) and with the change in ICAM (r=-0.43, P=.01) was observed. Conclusions: Low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets both have beneficial effects on CVD markers. There may be different mechanisms through which weight loss with these diets potentially reduces CVD risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-376
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Diabetes and Its Complications
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Diet
  • Endothelial function
  • Inflammation
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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