Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 24, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol and decreased levels of HDL cholesterol have consistently been shown to be a risk factor of coronary heart disease (CHD). Two dietary interventions that been suggested to have an impact on reducing these risk factors are the consumption of a diet low in fat and the regular moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages. In this study we examined the impact on blood lipids of 0 - 2.5 drinks per day in men and women during a 4-month controlled diet study. The volunteers consumed diets with either a typical level of dietary fat (about 38% of calories from fat) or a low fat diet (18% of calories from fat) for the duration of the study. During half of the study they consumed 1 - 2 drinks per day of alcohol and the other half they abstained from alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption improved the blood lipid profile by decreasing total cholesterol and LDL, and increasing HDL in the individuals consuming the typical diet. Those volunteers consuming the low fat diet had no additional benefit of alcohol consumption on those blood lipid measurements related to CHD risk.
Technical Abstract: The impact of an equal energetic substitution of ethanol for dietary carbohydrate, in high and low fat diets, on plasma lipids and lipoprotein concentrations was studied. During a 16-week, weight maintaining, controlled feeding study, subjects consumed only food and drink provided by the USDA Beltsville Human Nutrition Center's Diet Study Facility. Fifteen men (age 38 - 62) and 26 women (age 41 - 59) consumed either a control fat (CF), 38% of energy from fat, or low fat (LF), 19% of energy from fat, diet for the entire 16 weeks. The 16-week feeding period was divided into two 8-week periods, during which either ethanol (+E) or carbohydrate (-E) was added to the diet (5% of total daily energy intake) in a crossover design. Change in blood lipids, related to treatments, were similar in both men and women, but more pronounced in women. Subjects consuming the LF diet had lower LDL, HDL, HDL subfractions and apoproteins than subjects consuming the CF diet. However, the ratio of LDL to HDL was not different between the two diet groups. There were significant effects of ethanol consumption in subjects consuming the CF diet, but not in subjects consuming the LF diet. CF + E subjects had lower TC and LDL and higher HDL than CF-E subjects. The ratio of LDL/HDL was decreased markedly. The results of this study suggest that the decreases in cardiovascular disease risk factors typically seen with moderate alcohol consumption may not be evident in individuals consuming a diet low in fat.