A high legume low glycemic index diet improves serum lipid profiles in men.
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Clinical studies have shown that fiber consumption facilitates weight loss and improves lipid profiles; however, the beneficial effects of high fermentable fiber low glycemic index (GI) diets under conditions of weight maintenance are unclear. In the Legume Inflammation Feeding Experiment, a randomized controlled cross-over feeding study, 64 middle-aged men who had undergone colonoscopies within the previous 2 years received both a healthy American (HA) diet (no legume consumption, fiber consumption = 9 g/1,000 kcal, and GI = 69) and a legume enriched (1.5 servings/1,000 kcal), high fiber (21 g/1,000 kcal), low GI (GI = 38) diet (LG) in random order. Diets were isocaloric and controlled for macronutrients including saturated fat; they were consumed each for 4 weeks with a 2-4 week break separating dietary treatments. Compared to the HA diet, the LG diet led to greater declines in both fasting serum total cholesterol (TC) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (P < 0.001 and P < 0.01, respectively). Insulin-resistant (IR) subjects had greater reductions in high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C; P < 0.01), and triglycerides (TAG)/HDL-C (P = 0.02) after the LG diet, compared to the HA diet. Insulin-sensitive (IS) subjects had greater reductions in TC (P < 0.001), LDL-C (P < 0.01), TC/HDL-C (P < 0.01), and LDL-C/HDL-C (P = 0.02) after the LG diet, compared to the HA diet. In conclusion, a high legume, high fiber, low GI diet improves serum lipid profiles in men, compared to a healthy American diet. However, IR individuals do not achieve the full benefits of the same diet on cardiovascular disease (CVD) lipid risk factors.