Clinical Science| Volume 63, ISSUE 10, P1257-1264, October 2014

Effects of a eucaloric reduced-carbohydrate diet on body composition and fat distribution in women with PCOS



      To determine if consumption of a reduced-carbohydrate (CHO) diet would result in preferential loss of adipose tissue under eucaloric conditions, and whether changes in adiposity were associated with changes in postprandial insulin concentration.


      In a crossover-diet intervention, 30 women with PCOS consumed a reduced-CHO diet (41:19:40% energy from CHO:protein:fat) for 8 weeks and a standard diet (55:18:27) for 8 weeks. Body composition by DXA and fat distribution by CT were assessed at baseline and following each diet phase. Insulin AUC was obtained from a solid meal test (SMT) during each diet phase.


      Participants lost 3.7% and 2.2% total fat following the reduced-CHO diet and STD diet, resp. (p < 0.05 for difference between diets). The reduced-CHO diet induced a decrease in subcutaneous-abdominal, intra-abdominal, and thigh-intermuscular adipose tissue (−7.1%, −4.6%, and −11.5%, resp.), and the STD diet induced a decrease in total lean mass. Loss of fat mass following the reduced CHO diet arm was associated with lower insulin AUC (p < 0.05) during the SMT.


      In women with PCOS, consumption of a diet lower in CHO resulted in preferential loss of fat mass from metabolically harmful adipose depots, whereas a diet high in CHO appeared to promote repartitioning of lean mass to fat mass.


      PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), CHO (carbohydrate), NIH (National Institutes of Health), BMI (body mass index), STD (standard), DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry), CT (computed tomography), NDSR (Nutrition Data System for Research), IAAT (intra-abdominal adipose tissue), SAAT (subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue), IMAT (intermuscular adipose tissue), SAT (subcutaneous adipose tissue), PMAT (perimuscular adipose tissue), CRU (Clinical Research Unit), AUC (area-under-the-curve), CV (coefficient of variation)


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