12 June 2017

New Data Find Fasting Plasma Glucose and Insulin are Determinants of Dietary Weight Loss and Maintenance Success

Differentiated findings for people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes presented at the American Diabetes Association® 77th Scientific Sessions:

  • For prediabetes, a fiber-rich diet
  • For type 2 diabetes, a diet rich in healthy fats

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen, together with colleagues from the University of Colorado, Tufts University, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBER OBN) and Gelesis, Inc., presented new data demonstrating that blood sugar (glucose) and/or fasting insulin should be used to select the right diet, particularly for people with prediabetes and diabetes. Evaluated across six major interventional diet studies utilizing a variety of nutrition strategies, these biomarkers were repeatedly proven as predictors of weight loss success.

The specific diets that will work differ based on whether a patient has normal blood sugar, has prediabetes or is living with diabetes. The data were presented at the American Diabetes Association 77th Scientific Sessions.

Use of biomarkers can lead to weight loss

“Remarkably, for many patients, use of these biomarkers can lead to a six- to seven-fold greater weight loss,” commented Arne Astrup, Professor, Head of the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. “Going forward, we can educate patients when a diet they planned to follow would actually make them gain weight, and redirect them to a strategy that we know will work for them.”

The studies demonstrate that, for successful weight loss, fasting blood sugar and fasting insulin should be used to select an approach that is proven to work based on those biomarkers. For most people with prediabetes, a fiber-rich diet without calorie restriction will be very effective and has been shown to improve diabetes markers. In this population, carbohydrates or fats should be adjusted based on fasting insulin levels.

For people with type 2 diabetes, a diet rich in healthy, plant-based fats (such as from olive oil, nuts and avocados) will be effective to achieve weight loss.  The researchers acknowledge that no one solution will work for every patient, but for many in the US and EU these strategies are likely to be more effective than a generic, ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Weight loss strategies should be personalized

“Our research shows that weight loss strategies should be customized based on an individual’s biomarkers, which is a big step forward in using personalized nutrition to help people achieve greater weight loss success,” continued Professor Astrup. “These findings are particularly important as they allow us to provide those with prediabetes a custom strategy to help them lose weight, which can ultimately prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.”

The Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen will continue to participate in and support research to explore additional biomarkers such as gut microbiota and genomics approaches, which may offer more insights and help to better predict success with specific diets.

About the Studies

The collective research presented today includes examination of patients in NUGENOB, PREDIMED, Diogenes, SHOPUS, the CHO Study and The Healthy Weight for Living Study.  These studies employed a variety of nutrition strategies, including caloric restriction, varying the contributions of carbohydrate and fat, and increasing fiber intake.  This research was partly supported by Gelesis, Inc. Arne Astrup have since 2012 been Clinical Advisor and member of External Scientific Advisory Board for Gelesis Inc.

About Obesity and Diabetes

The global increase in obesity is of major importance for health systems worldwide. In Denmark, 13 percent of the adult population are obese (equivalent to a BMI of 30 or more). In the United States, approximately 35 percent of adults, or nearly 79 million, live with obesity.

The number of people with diabetes is also growing. The Danish Diabetes Association (Danish) finds that more than 320,000 Danes have diabetes and about 750,000 have prediabetes. The number has doubled in 10 years. According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million people in the U.S. had diabetes in 2012.  Each year, 1.4 million more people in the U.S. are diagnosed with diabetes. At that same timepoint, approximately 86 million Americans over the age of 20 had prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010.

Approximately 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes over a three-year period. Studies have found that lifestyle changes and weight loss in the range of 5 percent to 10 percent can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes among high-risk adults.

Diabetes can lead to a number of complications and preventive action is therefore of major importance.