DURHAM, N.C. -- People who followed a low-carbohydrate diet for six months raised their good cholesterol and lowered their triglycerides, changes that can help lower the risk of heart disease, Duke University Medical Center researchers found.
Overall, both diets had positive effects on cholesterol, Westman said. The triglyceride levels improved significantly in both groups, falling 74.2 points for the low-carb group and 27.9 points for the low-fat group. People on the low-carb diet showed an increase in HDL cholesterol by 5.5 points, a positive change, while those following the low-fat diet did not have a significant change. LDL cholesterol levels did not change significantly in either group but small LDL particles decreased 17.4 points for the low-carb dieters and 19.2 points for the low-fat dieters, a similar improvement. The total cholesterol of the low-fat dieters saw a 13.7 point decline over 6 months but did not change significantly in the low-carb dieters.
Westman noted that the diets have one often-ignored similarity. "It's possible that the common denominator of these diets is what they're not eating – both diets did not allow refined sugar or junk food," Westman said.
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