Carbohydrate And Plasma Lipids

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The elevation of blood lipid concentrations in response to large amounts of dietary sugars, particularly fructose and sucrose, has been recognised for many years. There are also many other variables that can influence postprandial TG concentrations, such as obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, genetic background and renal failure.

High-carbohydrate diets are reported to increase TG, mainly in short-term studies (29). However, most of these studies have been poorly controlled and have been very short term and thus the evidence is poor. Turley et al. (30) recently demonstrated that free-living healthy subjects randomised to a high-carbohydrate diet (59%) had no detrimental effect on fasting TG concentrations over a six-week period.

The literature contains conflicting findings, particularly in studies that contain >20% of energy from sucrose or >5% from fructose, where both sugars have been shown to raise TG concentrations. In studies containing amounts of sugars more typical of dietary habits in the Western world, elevated plasma TG concentrations are not usually observed (29). Interestingly, the glycaemic index of carbohydrate was significantly related to serum HDL-cholesterol in a retrospective cross-sectional study of 2200 middle-aged adults, where a low glycaemic diet was the only dietary variable related to the CHD risk factors measured (31).

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