Obesity is associated with elevated risk of heart disease. A solid understanding of the safety and potential adverse effects of high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet (HFLCD) similar to that used by humans for weight loss on the heart is crucial. High fat intake is known to promote increases in reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial damage. We hypothesized that there would be adverse effects of HFLCD on myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury through enhancing oxidative stress injury and impairing mitochondrial biogenesis in a nongenetic, diet-induced rat model of obesity. To test the hypothesis, 250-g male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed an obesity-promoting diet for 7 weeks to induce obesity, then switched to HFLCD or a low-fat control diet for 2 weeks. Isolated hearts underwent global low flow ischemia for 60 minutes and reperfusion for 60 minutes. High-fat, low-carbohydrate diet resulted in greater weight gain and lower myocardial glycogen, plasma adiponectin, and insulin. Myocardial antioxidant gene transcript and protein expression of superoxide dismutase and catalase were reduced in HFLCD, along with increased oxidative gene NADPH oxidase-4 transcript and xanthine oxidase activity, and a 37% increase in nitrated protein (nitrotyrosine) in HFLCD hearts. The cardiac expression of key mitochondrial regulatory factors such as nuclear respiratory factor-1 and transcription factor A-mitochondrial were inhibited and myocardial mitochondrial DNA copy number decreased. The cardiac expression of adiponectin and its receptors was down-regulated in HFLCD. High-fat, low-carbohydrate diet impaired recovery of left ventricular rate-pressure product after ischemia/reperfusion and led to 3.5-fold increased injury as measured by lactate dehydrogenase release. In conclusion, HFLCD leads to increased ischemic myocardial injury and impaired recovery of function after reperfusion and was associated with attenuation of mitochondrial biogenesis and enhanced oxidative stress in obese rats. These findings may have important implications for diet selection in obese patients with ischemic heart disease. © 2013.