Health In Focus
  • Diabetes mellitus is a major lifestyle illness with a global spread.
  • Dietary interventions are effective in improving the diabetes risk factors.
  • But we know only a little if the weight reduction effects are varied according to genetic susceptibility.
  • A study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition focused on finding if the overweight prevention effects are different due to genetic susceptibility.
Diabetes is a major lifestyle illness with global distribution. The changes in the nutrition, rapid urbanization and sedentary lifestyle are the driving factors for the growth of the epidemic. According to the 2015 Diabetes Atlas by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), diabetes affects one in eleven adults, 12% global health expenditure is due to diabetes and for every 6 seconds, death occurs due to diabetes.

Role of Diet in Diabetes

The role of diet in the diabetes is crucial. Excess calorie intake is the main reason for the escalating prevalence of the obesity and diabetes. According to the Nurses' Health Study, the quality of fats and carbohydrates in the diet also decide the development of diabetes.
High-Protein Weight Loss Diet Good for People With Genetic Susceptibility to Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is preventable by reducing weight and healthy eating practices. Adequate beta cell function and insulin sensitivity are essential in the maintenance of the blood glucose levels. Various studies have shown an improvement in the insulin sensitivity and beta cell function on dietary intervention.

But we only know a little if the genetic susceptibilities influence the improvement of the insulin resistance and beta cell function due to a weight loss diet.

A study was conducted using the data from the POUNDS LOST trial to find the effects of the weight loss diet in non-diabetics with genetic susceptibilities to diabetes. The study involved 744 overweight to obese individuals between 30-70 years. The diet plans among them were the four heart-healthy low-calorie diets with different proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

The genetic risk score (GRS) calculation for diabetes was made based on the 31 diabetes-associated variants. The changes in the insulin resistance and beta cell function were assessed over a two-year diet intervention.

The results showed that the low GRS was significantly associated with a greater decrease in the fasting insulin levels, HbA1c, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and less increase in homeostasis model assessment of beta-cell function (HOMA-B) in participants with low-protein weight loss diet. In participants with high GRS, the high-protein weight loss diet was significantly associated with a higher reduction of fasting insulin levels.

Thus the study showed that the low GRS individuals benefit more in improving insulin sensitivity and beta cell function on low-protein weight loss diet and high GRS individuals benefit more with high-protein weight loss diet.

Prevention of Diabetes

A healthy lifestyle can prevent diabetes. Weight reduction, a balanced diet and increased physical activity can reduce the risk of the development of diabetes. Smoking cessation and reducing the alcohol intake can lower the risk of diabetes.

References :
  1. Huang, T., et al., Genetic susceptibility to diabetes and long-term improvement of insulin resistance and beta cell function during weight loss: the Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies (POUNDS LOST) trial. Am J Clin Nutr, 2016.
  2. Hu, F.B., Globalization of Diabetes. The role of diet, lifestyle, and genes, 2011. 34(6): p. 1249-1257.
  3. Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies Study (POUNDS LOST) - (
  4. 2015 Diabetes Atlas - (
Source: Medindia

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