Diet is known to affect acclimatization to altitude through the effect of carbohydrate on the respiratory exchange ratio. During the first three days following ascent to high altitude, spirometric indices including the forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEVp) decrease. The purpose of this study was to determine if dietary carbohydrate would influence these spirometric changes.

Seven healthy subjects were studied on two nutritionally complete diets at 335 meters and 3780 meters altitude in a cross-over design. The high carbohydrate diet (HI CHO) consisted of 76% of calories as carbohydrate, 12% as fat and 12% as protein, while on the low carbohydrate diet (LO CHO) calories were. 46%, 42% and 12% respectively.

Following ascent to altitude FVC and FEV-1 fell in nearly every case on both diets. However FEV. fell 1. 7.5% on the LO CHO diet but only 0.6% on HI CHO (p0.05).

Eighteen hours post arrival at 3780 meters, FEV-1decreased 1.2% on the LO CHO diet following acute maximal exercise; on the HI CHO diet it dropped 4.8%. This difference, was significant (p2 and FEV3 continued to fall on both diets but there was not a significant FEV1/FVC did change significantly following acute maximal exercise at eighteen hours post arrival at 3780 meters, increased 2.7% on the LO CHO diet while it decreased 0.3% on the HI CHO cant difference in the rates. It diet (p<0.05).

Forty-eight hours after arrival at altitude FVC and FEV1 deteriorated following prolonged exercise when compared with pre-exercise values. FEV]_ declined 2.9% on LO CHO but only 0.9% on HI CHO (p0.05). FVC

Three and one half days after ascent spirometric indices decreased following acute maximal exercise compared with pre-exercise values. The HI CHO diet ameliorated the change in FVC, FEV1 and FEV3. however, FEVg was the only spirometric value significantly different between the diets, falling 7.4% on LO CHO compared to 0.7% on HI CHO At this time (p

These findings suggest that a HI CHO diet also influences certain mechanical changes which occur after acute altitude exposure.




Graduate School

First Advisor

U. D. Register

Second Advisor

Irma B. Vyhmeister

Third Advisor

Grenith J. Zimmerman

Fourth Advisor

Craig L. Anderson

Fifth Advisor

James A. Peters

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Altitude -- adverse effects; Dietary Carbohydrates; Forced Expiratory Volume; Lung Volume Measurements



Page Count

vi; 69

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

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Nutrition Commons