Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents

The purpose for the study is to compare the effects of a low-carbohydrate (LC) diet with those of a low-fat (LF) diet on weight loss and serum lipids in overweight adolescents.

The study is designed as a randomized, controlled 12-week trial.

Random, nonblinded assignment of participants referred for weight management. The study group (LC) (n = 16) was instructed to consume <20 g of carbohydrate per day for 2 weeks, then <40 g/day for 10 weeks, and to eat LC foods according to hunger. The control group (LF) (n = 14) was instructed to consume <30% of energy from fat. Diet composition and weight were monitored and recorded every 2 weeks. Serum lipid profiles were obtained at the start of the study and after 12 weeks.

The LC group lost more weight (mean, 9.9 ± 9.3 kg vs 4.1 ± 4.9 kg, P < .05) and had improvement in non-HDL cholesterol levels (P < .05). There was improvement in LDL cholesterol levels (P < .05) in the LF group but not in the LC group. There were no adverse effects on the lipid profiles of participants in either group.

The LC diet appears to be an effective method for short-term weight loss in overweight adolescents and does not harm the lipid profile. (J Pediatr 2003;142:253-8)

Science Direct: Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents