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Effect of a 6-month vegan low-carbohydrate (‘Eco-Atkins’) diet on cardiovascular risk factors and body weight in hyperlipidaemic adults: a randomised controlled trial
  1. David J A Jenkins1,2,3,4,5,
  2. Julia M W Wong1,3,6,7,
  3. Cyril W C Kendall1,3,
  4. Amin Esfahani1,3,8,
  5. Vivian W Y Ng1,3,
  6. Tracy C K Leong1,3,
  7. Dorothea A Faulkner1,3,
  8. Ed Vidgen1,3,
  9. Gregory Paul9,
  10. Ratna Mukherjea9,
  11. Elaine S Krul9,
  12. William Singer1,2,3,4
  1. 1Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Clinical Nutrition & Risk Factor Modification Center, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6The New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  7. 7Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  8. 8New York Medical College, School of Medicine, Valhalla, New York, USA.
  9. 9Solae LLC, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr David J A Jenkins; cyril.kendall{at}


Objective Low-carbohydrate diets may be useful for weight loss. Diets high in vegetable proteins and oils may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The main objective was to determine the longer term effect of a diet that was both low-carbohydrate and plant-based on weight loss and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).

Design, setting, participants A parallel design study of 39 overweight hyperlipidaemic men and postmenopausal women conducted at a Canadian university-affiliated hospital nutrition research centre from April 2005 to November 2006.

Intervention Participants were advised to consume either a low-carbohydrate vegan diet or a high-carbohydrate lacto-ovo vegetarian diet for 6 months after completing 1-month metabolic (all foods provided) versions of these diets. The prescribed macronutrient intakes for the low-carbohydrate and high-carbohydrate diets were: 26% and 58% of energy from carbohydrate, 31% and 16% from protein and 43% and 25% from fat, respectively.

Primary outcome Change in body weight.

Results 23 participants (50% test, 68% control) completed the 6-month ad libitum study. The approximate 4 kg weight loss on the metabolic study was increased to −6.9 kg on low-carbohydrate and −5.8 kg on high-carbohydrate 6-month ad libitum treatments (treatment difference (95% CI) −1.1 kg (−2.1 to 0.0), p=0.047). The relative LDL-C and triglyceride reductions were also greater on the low-carbohydrate treatment (treatment difference (95% CI) −0.49 mmol/L (−0.70 to −0.28), p<0.001 and −0.34 mmol/L (−0.57 to −0.11), p=0.005, respectively), as were the total cholesterol:HDL-C and apolipoprotein B:A1 ratios (−0.57 (−0.83, −0.32), p<0.001 and −0.05 (−0.09, −0.02), p=0.003, respectively).

Conclusions A self-selected low-carbohydrate vegan diet, containing increased protein and fat from gluten and soy products, nuts and vegetable oils, had lipid lowering advantages over a high-carbohydrate, low-fat weight loss diet, thus improving heart disease risk factors.

Trial Registration (, #NCT00256516.

  • Weight Loss
  • Diet
  • Hyperlipidemia

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