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A randomised four-intervention crossover study investigating the effect of carbohydrates on daytime profiles of insulin, glucose, non-esterified fatty acids and triacylglycerols in middle-aged men

  • Audrey E. Brynes (a1), C. Mark Edwards (a2), Mohammed A. Ghatei (a2), Anne Dornhorst (a2), Linda M. Morgan (a3), Stephen R. Bloom (a2) and Gary S. Frost (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2007

Postprandial concentrations of glucose, insulin and triacylglycerols (TG) correlate to risk for CHD. Carbohydrates affect many metabolites that could have a potential effect on cardiovascular risk factors. The objective of the present study was to examine, using a randomised prospective study, the acute (day 1) and ad libitum medium-term (day 24) effects of four diets: a high-fat diet (HIGH-FAT; 50 % fat, >34 % monounsaturated fatty acids); a low-glycaemic index (GI) diet (LOW-GI; high-carbohydrate, low-GI); a high-sucrose diet (SUCROSE; high carbohydrate increase of 90 g sucrose/d); a high-GI diet (HIGH-GI; high-carbohydrate, high-GI). Daytime profiles (8 h) (breakfast, lunch and tea) of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism were completed during day 1 and day 24. Seventeen middle-aged men with one or more cardiac risk factors completed the study. There was no change from day 1 or between diets in fasting glucose, lipids or homeostatic assessment model (HOMA) on day 24. The HIGH-FAT compared with the three high-carbohydrate diets was associated with lower postprandial insulin and glucose but higher postprandial TG and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA). There was a significant increase in the 6 h (15.00 hours) TG concentration (day 1, 2·6 (SEM 0·3) MMOL/L v. DAY 24, 3·3 (sem 0·3) mmol/l; P<0·01) on the SUCROSE diet. Postprandial HOMA (i.e. incremental area under the curve (IAUC) glucose (mmol/l per min)×IAUC insulin/22·5 (mU/l per min)) median changes from day 1 to day 24 were −61, −43, −20 and +31 % for the HIGH-FAT, LOW-GI, SUCROSE and HIGH-GI diets respectively. The HIGH-GI percentage change was significantly different from the other three diets (P<0·001). Despite being advised to maintain an identical energy intake there was a significant weight change (−0·27 (sem 0·3) kg; P<0·02) on the LOW-GI diet compared with the SUCROSE diet (+0·84 (sem 0·3) kg). In conclusion the HIGH-FAT diet had a beneficial effect on postprandial glucose and insulin over time but it was associated with higher postprandial concentrations of TG and NEFA. Conversely the HIGH-GI diet appeared to increase postprandial insulin resistance over the study period.

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*Corresponding author: Dr Gary Frost, fax +44 20 8383 3379, email
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British Journal of Nutrition
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