Biomarkers could predict which diets are best for weight loss

a woman on scales with a tape measure

Each year, millions of us go on diets in an attempt to lose weight, but not all of us succeed. A new study has uncovered two biomarkers that could predict how effective certain diets will be for weight loss, particularly for people prediabetes or diabetes.

From an analysis of more than 1,200 adults, researchers found that a person’s fasting blood glucose levels, fasting insulin levels, or both, were effective for pinpointing which diets were most likely to lead to weight loss.

Such biomarkers were especially effective for determining which diets were best for people with prediabetes and diabetes, the researchers report.

Study co-author Dr. Arne Astrup, head of the Department of Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues recently published their findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

According to the American Diabetes Association, around 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the condition, wherein the body is unable to effectively use the hormone insulin, causing high blood glucose levels.

Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but they are not high enough to warrant a diabetes diagnosis. However, people with prediabetes are at significantly greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those without prediabetes.

It is estimated that around 86 million people in the U.S. have prediabetes, but around 90 percent are unaware of it.

Diet and diabetes

Excess weight is a major risk factor for diabetes and other health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for people with prediabetes, losing around 5 to 7 percent of their body weight and increasing exercise levels can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent.

For people who have already been diagnosed with diabetes, losing weight through diet and exercise can aid blood glucose control and lower the risk of other health conditions.

But which type of diet is most likely to achieve weight loss? It goes without saying that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dieting. However, Dr. Astrup and colleagues believe that a person’s fasting blood glucose and insulin levels could be used to help identify the most effective diet for weight loss.

To reach their conclusion, the researchers analyzed the data of three dietary clinical trials: the Diet, Obesity, and Genes trial, the OPUS Supermarket intervention (SHOPUS), and the Nutrient-gene interactions in human obesity (NUGENOB) trial.

In total, the study included the data of more than 1,200 adults, all of whom were overweight.

The researchers looked at the fasting blood glucose levels and fasting insulin levels of each participant, and they assessed whether these levels were associated with weight loss in response to certain diets.


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