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Tuesday 30 August 2016

Dietary Intake and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Icelanders Following Voluntarily a Low Carbohydrate Diet



Most studies regarding low-carbohydrate diets (LCDs) have been intervention studies. The aim of the current study was to investigate dietary intake and cardiovascular risk factors among individuals who voluntarily follow a LCD.


A cross-sectional study was conducted (N = 54, 20–66yrs) in Reykjavik, Iceland. Participants recorded food intake for three days. Blood samples were analyzed for cardiovascular risk factors.


Nearly half of the participants were obese and around 60% had been on a LCD for ≥ 6 months. Fifty percent claimed they had lost weight during the past month. The median intake of carbohydrate, protein and fat were 8%, 22% and 68% E (hereof 25% saturated fatty acids), respectively. The consumption of bread and wholegrain cereals was very low (<5g/day), including the intake of dietary fiber (11g/day). Median fruit intake was 12 g/day. Intake of red meat and meat products was double that of the general population or ~900 g/week. Median intake of vitamins and minerals were mostly higher than the estimated average requirements. Cardiovascular risk factors were mostly within normal range. Mean blood lipids were slightly elevated although the high density lipoprotein/total cholesterol ratio was normal.


Despite poor diet quality and high prevalence of obesity, individuals who voluntarily follow a LCD have cardiovascular risk factors mostly within reference range. These individuals consume very low amounts of carbohydrates and high amounts of fat and saturated fat acids. Intake of red meat and processed meat exceeds recommended intake. Very low intake of whole grain cereals and fruits results in low intake of fiber. Long term health implications need to be examined further in longitudinal studies.



sage said...

I can't image only 5 grams of carbohydrates a day! I do think the low fiber intact would be hard.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

They have a kind of yoghurt in Iceland - I think it's called smyr (or something like that) and I had it on an Icelandic Air flight. iIt was delicious and I believe it is very healthy indeed. Are you familiar with this product? I must say that Icelanders overall seem to be a healthy bunch.

Linda said...

Very interesting findings. Thank you for sharing.

Lowcarb team member said...


Many thanks for leaving your thoughts/comments, they are always appreciated.

I haven't tried Skyr ... although it has been advertised in the UK.
According to Wikipedia " Skyr (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈscɪːr̥], (pronounced "skeer") is an Icelandic cultured dairy product. It has the consistency of strained yogurt/greek yogurt but a much milder flavor. It has been a part of Icelandic cuisine for over a thousand years.It is traditionally served cold with milk and a topping of sugar.
Skyr was brought from Norway to Iceland more than 1100 years ago, and though the tradition died out in most of Scandinavia, it lived on in Icelandic culture.
Skyr is a popular product in Iceland and can also be purchased in parts of the US,UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Nordic countries (including the Faroe Islands and Greenland),Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Canada, and the United States.
Skyr is a high protein, low-fat product, varying slightly between brands, unflavored skyr is roughly 12% protein, 3% carbohydrate, and 0.5% fat. It is high in calcium and vitamins commonly found in milk products

Read more here

All the best Jan