The acute effects of dietary carbohydrate reduction on postprandial responses of non-esterified fatty acids and triglycerides: a randomized trial

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Background: Postprandial non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) and triglyceride (TG) responses are increased in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and may impair insulin action and increase risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Dietary carbohydrate reduction has been suggested as non-pharmacological therapy for T2DM, but the acute effects on NEFA and TG during subsequent meals remain to be investigated.

Methods: Postprandial NEFA and TG responses were assessed in subjects with T2DM by comparing a carbohydrate-reduced high-protein (CRHP) diet with a conventional diabetes (CD) diet in an open-label, randomized, cross-over study. Each diet was consumed on two consecutive days, separated by a wash-out period. The iso-caloric CRHP/CD diets contained 31/54 E% from carbohydrate, 29/16 E% energy from protein and 40/30 E% from fat, respectively. Sixteen subjects with well-controlled T2DM (median HbA1c 47 mmol/mol, (37-67 mmol/mol) and BMI 30 ± 4.4 kg/m2) participated in the study. NEFA and TG were evaluated following breakfast and lunch.

Results: NEFA net area under curve (AUC) was increased by 97 ± 38 μmol/Lx270 min (p = 0.024) after breakfast but reduced by 141 ± 33 μmol/Lx180 min (p < 0.001) after lunch on the CRHP compared with CD diet. Likewise, TG net AUC was increased by 80 ± 28 μmol/Lx270 min (p = 0.012) after breakfast but reduced by 320 ± 60 μmol/Lx180 min (p < 0.001) after lunch on the CRHP compared with CD diet.

Conclusions: In well-controlled T2DM a modest reduction of dietary carbohydrate with a corresponding increase in protein and fat acutely reduced postprandial serum NEFA suppression and increased serum TG responses after a breakfast meal but had the opposite effect after a lunch meal. The mechanism behind this second-meal phenomenon of CRHP diet on important risk factors for aggravating T2DM and cardiovascular disease awaits further investigation.

Trial registration: The study was registered at ID: NCT02472951. . Registered June 16, 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Article number295
JournalLipids in Health and Disease
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Dietary carbohydrate reduction, Postprandial triglycerides, Non-esterified fatty acids

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