The Western Pattern diet has been characterized by having greater than 50 percent consumption coming from fat and sugar. This macronutrient allocation has been shown to have deleterious effects on endothelial function and metabolic markers of cardiovascular disease. Exercise has been shown to improve vascular reactivity and metabolic markers related to cardiovascular health. The objective of the study was to determine if exercise training can prevent the anticipated deleterious effects of a fat-sugar supplemented diet on endothelial function and blood markers of cardiovascular risk in young men. Twenty-one, healthy college-aged males were randomly assigned to either the doughnut + exercise or doughnut only groups. Both groups were fed 2 doughnuts per day, 6 days per week, for three weeks, while maintain their current diet. The exercise group completed 4 exercise training sessions per week consisting of 2 high intensity interval training bouts (up to 95% VO2peak) on a cycle ergometer and two moderate intensity, steady-state bouts (at 75% VO2peak) on a treadmill. Changes in body weight and composition, markers of endothelial function, oxidative stress, serum lipids, and blood glucose were measured in each group. As expected, cardiovascular fitness increased significantly in the doughnut-supplemented + exercise group as compared to the doughnut-supplemented (p=0.005). Significant increases in body weight (p=0.036), fat mass (p=0.013), and body fat percentage (p=0.014) were seen in the doughnut only group as compared to the doughnut + exercise group. The doughnut + exercise group showed significant improvements in fasting serum triglycerides (p=0.036), plasma insulin (p=0.039) and insulin sensitivity (HOMA; p=0.05) as compared to the doughnut only group. The doughnut + exercise group saw a significant improvement in nitric oxide availability whereas the doughnut only group experienced a significant decline (p=0.014). There were no significant changes in other markers. Despite the addition of a fat/sugar supplement of ~11,600 kcal over three weeks, 4 exercise sessions per week were sufficient to prevent a gain in body weight and fat mass, and also improve some measures of cardiometabolic risk. These results suggest that exercise may be necessary to prevent some adverse health outcomes associated with transient periods of excessive energy consumption.
- Effects of a fat-sugar supplemented diet, with and without exercise training, on endothelial function, blood pressure, and markers of cardiovascular risk
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by Laurie Black