Pretreatment fasting plasma glucose and insulin modify dietary weight loss success: results from 3 randomized clinical trials

Mads F. Hjorth*, Christian Ritz, Ellen E. Blaak, Wim H. M. Saris, Dominique Langin, Sanne Kellebjerg Poulsen, Thomas Meinert Larsen, Thorkild I. A. Sorensen, Yishai Zohar, Arne Astrup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Which diet is optimal for weight loss and maintenance remains controversial and implies that no diet fits all patients.

Objective: We studied concentrations of fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and fasting insulin (FI) as prognostic markers for successful weight loss and maintenance through diets with different glycemic loads or different fiber and whole-grain content, assessed in 3 ran-domized trials of overweight participants.

Design: After an 8-wk weight loss, participants in the DiOGenes (Diet, Obesity, and Genes) trial consumed ad libitum for 26 wk a diet with either a high or a low glycemic load. Participants in the Optimal well-being, development and health for Danish children through a healthy New Nordic Diet (OPUS) Supermarket intervention (SHOPUS) trial consumed ad libitum for 26 wk the New Nordic Diet, which is high in fiber and whole grains, or a control diet. Participants in the NUGENOB (Nutrient-Gene Interactions in Human Obesity) trial consumed a hypocaloric low-fat and high-carbohydrate or a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet for 10 wk. On the basis of FPG before treatment, participants were categorized as normoglycemic (FPG,= 7.0 mmol/L). Modifications of the dietary effects of FPG and FI before treatment were examined with linear mixed models.

Results: In the DiOGenes trial, prediabetic individuals regained a mean of 5.83 kg (95% CI: 3.34, 8.32 kg; P <0.001) more on the high-than on the low-glycemic load diet, whereas normoglycemic individuals regained a mean of 1.44 kg (95% CI: 0.48, 2.41 kg; P = 0.003) more [mean group difference: 4.39 kg (95% CI: 1.76, 7.02 kg); P = 0.001]. In SHOPUS, prediabetic individuals lost a mean of 6.04 kg (95% CI: 4.05, 8.02 kg; P <0.001) more on the New Nordic Diet than on the control diet, whereas normoglycemic individuals lost a mean of 2.20 kg (95% CI: 1.21, 3.18 kg; P <0.001) more [mean group difference: 3.84 kg (95% CI: 1.62, 6.06 kg); P = 0.001]. In NUGENOB, diabetic individuals lost a mean of 2.04 kg (95% CI: 20.20, 4.28 kg; P = 0.07) more on the high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet than on the low-fat and high-carbohydrate diet, whereas normoglycemic individuals lost a mean of 0.43 kg (95% CI: 0.03, 0.83 kg; P = 0.03) more on the low-fat and high-carbohydrate diet [mean group difference: 2.47 kg (95% CI: 0.20, 4.75 kg); P = 0.03]. The addition of FI strengthened these associations.

Conclusion: Elevated FPG before treatment indicates success with dietary weight loss and maintenance among overweight patients consuming diets with a low glycemic load or with large amounts of fiber and whole grains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-505
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • glucose
  • insulin
  • precision medicine
  • personalized nutrition
  • weight
  • glycemic load
  • glycemic index
  • fiber
  • prediabetes
  • diabetes

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