British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Long-term weight maintenance and cardiovascular risk factors are not different following weight loss on carbohydrate-restricted diets high in either monounsaturated fat or protein in obese hyperinsulinaemic men and women

Jennifer B. Keogha1 c1, Natalie D. Luscombe-Marsha2, Manny Noakesa1, Gary A. Witterta2 and Peter M. Cliftona1

a1 CSIRO Human Nutrition, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000, Australia

a2 Department of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, 5000, Australia


The aim of this study was to determine after 52 weeks whether advice to follow a lower carbohydrate diet, either high in monounsaturated fat or low fat, high in protein had differential effects in a free-living community setting. Following weight loss on either a high monounsaturated fat, standard protein (HMF; 50 % fat, 20 % protein (67 g/d), 30 % carbohydrate) or a high protein, moderate fat (HP) (40 % protein (136 g/d), 30 % fat, 30 % carbohydrate) energy-restricted diet (6000 kJ/d) subjects were asked to maintain the same dietary pattern without intensive dietary counselling for the following 36 weeks. Overall weight loss was 6·2 (sd 7·3) kg (P < 0·01 for time with no diet effect, 7·6 (sd 8·1) kg, HMF v. 4·8 (sd 6·6) kg, HP). In a multivariate regression model predictors of weight loss at the end of the study were sex, age and reported percentage energy from protein (R2 0·22, P < 0·05 for the whole model). Fasting plasma insulin decreased (P < 0·01, with no difference between diets), 13·9 (sd 4·6) to 10·2 (sd 5·2) mIU/l, but fasting plasma glucose was not reduced. Neither total cholesterol nor LDL-cholesterol were different but HDL was higher, 1·19 (sd 0·26) v. 1·04 (sd 0·29) (P < 0·001 for time, no diet effect), while TAG was lower, 1·87 (sd 1·23) v. 2·22 (sd 1·15) mmol/l (P < 0·05 for time, no diet effect). C-reactive protein decreased (3·97 (sd 2·84) to 2·43 (sd 2·29) mg/l, P < 0·01). Food records showed that compliance to the prescribed dietary patterns was poor. After 1 year there remained a clinically significant weight loss and improvement in cardiovascular risk factors with no adverse effects of a high monounsaturated fat diet.

(Received March 29 2006)

(Revised August 08 2006)

(Accepted September 12 2006)


Abbreviations: CRP, C-reactive protein; HMF, high monounsaturated fat, standard protein diet; HP, high protein, moderate fat diet; hsCRP, high sensitivity C-reactive protein