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Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology
Vol. 57 (2011) No. 6 P 383-393




The prevention of obesity, which leads to diabetes and other diseases, is a major concern for public health. There might be an optimal dietary fat to carbohydrate ratio for prevention and treatment of obesity. According to the Japanese Dietary Reference Intakes (RDA) for 2010, the optimal fat intake is 20-30% of energy for ages 1-29 y and 20-25% for ages 30 y and over. Upper boundary values of this recommendation were the median of the percentage of energy from dietary fat in Japanese. In a systematic review to estimate the optimal dietary fat to carbohydrate ratio, it was found that obese subjects with hyperinsulinemia (or insulin resistance) lost more weight on a mild low-carbohydrate (LC) (or low-glycemic load diet; 40% carbohydrate, 30-35% fat) than on a low-fat (LF) diet (55-60% carbohydrate, 20% fat), whereas those without hyperinsulinemia showed the opposite. In non-obese primarily insulin-sensitive subjects, decreasing fat rather than carbohydrate intake is generally more effective to prevent obesity. Physiological and molecular evidence supports this conclusion. Increased carbohydrate intake, especially in high-glycemic food, leads to postprandial hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, which are exaggerated in obese insulin-resistant subjects. Even in an insulin-resistant state, insulin is able to stimulate fatty acid synthesis in liver, activate lipoprotein lipase, and prevent lipolysis in adipose tissues, which all facilitate adipose tissue enlargement. Optimal dietary fat to carbohydrate ratio may differ in populations depending on their prevalence for obesity. Because the prevalence of overweight/obesity in Japanese is low, a LF diet is recommended in the general population.

Copyright © 2011 by the Center for Academic Publications Japan

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