Carbohydrates get a quite a bit of bad media coverage; Atkin’s and ketogenic diets limit carbohydrate intake for efficient weight loss, at a price. High carbohydrate, high fat diets are known to induce cardiovascular and liver dysfunction in animals.
A recent study published in Nutrients suggests vitamin E intake can reverse the negative health effects of high carbohydrate, high fat diets.
Rats placed on high carbohydrate, high fat diet regimes for 16 weeks developed observed obesity, abnormally elevated blood pressure (hypertension), anomalous heart behavior, poor lung function, liver damage, and insulin tolerance analogous to diabetes.
In contrast, rats fed palm tocotrienol-rich fraction (tocotrienols are members of the vitamin E family) in addition to high carbohydrate, high fat diets were observed to be healthier on several criteria. Namely,
TRF treatment improved ventricular function, attenuated cardiac stiffness and hypertension, and improved glucose and insulin tolerance, with reduced left ventricular collagen deposition and inflammatory cell infiltration. TRF improved liver structure and function with reduced plasma liver enzymes, inflammatory cell infiltration, fat vacuoles and balloon hepatocytes. TRF reduced plasma free fatty acid and triglyceride concentrations but only omental fat deposition was decreased in the abdomen.
The study suggests that tocotrienols protect the heart and liver while improving blood glucose and lipid profiles. Vitamin E is well known for antioxidant effects. The mechanism by which tocotrienols operate to improve health is not elucidated, yet intuitively the study findings are consistent.