Background: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the major cause of mortality in type 2 diabetes patients (T2DM). The causes are embedded in a complex interplay between excess body fat, insulin resistance and serum lipid anomalies. Endothelial homeostasis is strongly affected by this pathogenic network. Even though metabolic changes and weight loss improve vascular endothelial function, the effect of different dietary approaches is still uncertain for type 2 diabetes patients. Objective: We aimed to compare the acute effects of a hypocaloric very low carbohydrate (VLC) diet versus a hypocaloric low fat (LF) diet on flow mediated dilation (FMD), intrahepatic lipid (IHL) accumulation and visceral adipose tissue as independent risk factors of CVD in T2DM patients. Design: 36 T2DM patients (age 63 ± 8 years, 60% females) were randomly assigned to the VLC diet (4–10% of total energy intake (E)) or to the LF diet (<30% E) for 3 weeks. Endothelial function was assessed by the flow mediated dilation (FMD) method. Adipose tissue depots and IHL were determined by magnetic resonance. Results: Both dietary strategies reduced body weight, body fat content and IHL. Unexpectedly, the LF group experienced significantly greater enhancement of FMD, compared to the VLC group. The FMD showed a positive correlation with protein intake and fat intake in the LF group, while it revealed a negative correlation with protein intake in the VLC diet group. Conclusions: Reduction of total and hepatic adiposity was shown to be successful using either the VLC or LF hypocaloric diets, however, improvements in FMD may be related to the interplay of fat and protein intake.
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