News Release

Fasting plasma glucose and insulin are determinants of dietary weight loss success

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

Peer-Reviewed Publication

University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Science

San Diego, CA and Copenhagen, Denmark, June 11, 2017 - 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 and maintenance 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.

"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.

"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 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 supported by Gelesis, Inc.

About Obesity and Diabetes

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.

Individuals with prediabetes have higher than normal blood glucose but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. 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.

The global increase in the prevalence of obesity is a public health issue that has severe cost implications to health care systems. In the United States, approximately 35 percent of adults, or nearly 79 million adults, live with obesity.

Despite the high prevalence of obesity, many people with obesity lack support in their efforts to lose weight and the disease remains substantially underdiagnosed and underreported

About the University of Copenhagen

With over 40,000 students and more than 9,000 employees, the University of Copenhagen is the largest institution of research and education in Denmark.

The purpose of the University - to quote the University Statute - is to 'conduct research and provide further education to the highest academic level'. Approximately one hundred different institutes, departments, laboratories, centres, museums, etc., form the nucleus of the University.

The Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports conducts research, education, innovation, and dissemination of information in nutrition, human physiology and sports at the highest international level, and incorporates the humanities as well as health and social sciences.


Assistant professor Mads Fiil Hjorth
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen
Tel.: +45 4097 8366

Head of Department,
Professor Arne Astrup, MD, DMSc
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen
Tel.: +45 2143 3302

Communication Manager
Kristian Levring Madsen
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen
Tel.: +45 4048 1684

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