Purpose of review: This article aims at reviewing the recent findings that have been made concerning the crosstalk of carbohydrate metabolism with the generation of small, dense low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles, which are known to be associated with an adverse cardiovascular risk profile.
Recent findings: Studies conducted during the past few years have quite unanimously shown that the quantity of carbohydrates ingested is associated with a decrease of LDL particle size and an increase in its density. Conversely, diets that aim at a reduction of carbohydrate intake are able to improve LDL quality. Furthermore, a reduction of the glycaemic index without changing the amount of carbohydrates ingested has similar effects. Diseases with altered carbohydrate metabolism, for example, type 2 diabetes, are associated with small, dense LDL particles. Finally, even the kind of monosaccharide the carbohydrate intake consists of is important concerning LDL particle size: fructose has been shown to alter the LDL particle subclass profile more adversely than glucose in many recent studies.
Summary: LDL particle quality, rather than its quantity, is affected by carbohydrate metabolism, which is of clinical importance, in particular, in the light of increased carbohydrate consumption in today's world.