Journal of the Endocrine Society Journal Article

Effects of Dietary Carbohydrate on Metabolic Fuels

July 13, 2020
 

Kim J Shimy, Henry A Feldman, Gloria L Klein, Lisa Bielak, Cara B Ebbeling, David S Ludwig
Journal of the Endocrine Society, Volume 4, Issue 7, July 2020, bvaa062
https://doi.org/10.1210/jendso/bvaa062

Abstract

Context

According to the carbohydrate-insulin model of obesity, an elevated insulin-to-glucagon ratio in response to a high-carbohydrate diet directs metabolic fuels toward storage, resulting in lower circulating energy.

Objective

To determine differences in total circulating energy post-meal related to dietary carbohydrate.

Design

Ancillary study within the Framingham State Food Study.

Setting

University community.

Participants

29 adults (aged 20 to 65 years) with overweight or obesity (body mass index ≥25 kg/m2)

Intervention

After achieving 10% to 14% weight loss on a run-in diet, participants were randomized to weight-loss-maintenance test diets varying in carbohydrate content (high-carbohydrate, 60% of total energy, n = 11; moderate-carbohydrate, 40%, n = 8; low-carbohydrate, 20%, n = 10) and controlled for protein (20%). During 24-hour metabolic ward admissions between 10 and 15 weeks on the test diets, metabolic fuels and hormones were measured.

Main Outcome Measure

Energy availability (EA) based on energy content of blood glucose, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and free fatty acids, in the late postprandial period (180 to 300 minutes). Insulin at 30 minutes into the test meal (Meal Insulin-30) was measured as an effect modifier.

Results

Insulin-to-glucagon ratio was 7-fold higher in participants on the high- vs low-carbohydrate diet (2.5 and 0.36, respectively). Late postprandial EA was 0.58 kcal/L lower on the high- vs low-carbohydrate diet (P < 0.0001), primarily related to suppression of free fatty acids. Early postprandial EA (30 to 180 minutes) declined fastest in the high-carbohydrate group, and Meal Insulin-30 modified this diet effect.

Conclusions

During weight-loss maintenance on a high-carbohydrate diet, late postprandial EA is reduced, consistent with the carbohydrate-insulin model.

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