Effects of replacing saturated fat with complex carbohydrate in diets of subjects with NIDDM

W. G H Abbott, V. L. Boyce, Scott M Grundy, B. V. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This study examined the safety of an isocaloric high-complex carbohydrate low-saturated fat diet (HICARB) in obese patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Although hypocaloric diets should be recommended to these patients, many find compliance with this diet difficult; therefore, the safety of an isocaloric increase in dietary carbohydrate needs assessment. Lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride (TG, mg/dl) concentrations in isocaloric high-fat and HICARB diets were compared in 7 NIDDM subjects (fat 32 ± 3%, fasting glucose 190 ± 38 mg/dl) and 6 nondiabetic subjects (fat 33 ± 5%). They ate a high-fat diet (43% carbohydrate; 42% fat, polyunsaturated to saturated 0.3; fiber 9 g/1000 kcal; cholesterol 550 mg/day) for 7-10 days. Control subjects (3 NIDDM, 3 nondiabetic) continued this diet for 5 wk. The 13 subjects changed to a HICARB diet (65% carbohydrate; 21% fat, polyunsaturated to saturated 1.2; fiber 18 g/1000 kcal; cholesterol 550 mg/day) for 5 wk. NIDDM subjects on the HICARB diet had decreased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-chol) concentrations (107 vs. 82, P < .001), but their high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-chol) concentrations, glucose, and body weight were unchanged. Changes in total plasma TG concentrations in NIDDM subjects were heterogeneous. Concentrations were either unchanged or had decreased in 5 and increased in 2 NIDDM subjects. Nondiabetic subjects on the HICARB diet had decreased LDL-chol (111 vs. 81, P < .01) and unchanged HDL-chol and plasma TG concentrations. In summary, replacing dietary saturated fat with commplex carbohydrate, independent of cholesterol intake, lowered LDL-chol without an adverse effect on HDL-chol, TG, and glucose in most obese Pima Indian NIDDM subjects. Before concluding that these diets are safe in obese NIDDM subjects who are unable to restrict their calorie intake, more data are needed on lipoprotein particle flux.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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