Food and Behaviour Research

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The impact of macronutrient composition on metabolic regulation: An Islet-Centric view

Santos K, Olofsson C, Cunha J, Roberts F, Catrina S, Fex M, Ekberg N, Sp├ęgel P (2022) Acta Physiologica 236(4):e13884 doi: 10.1111/apha.13884 

Web URL: Read this article on PubMed


Aim: The influence of dietary carbohydrates and fats on weight gain is inconclusively understood. We studied the acute impact of these nutrients on the overall metabolic state utilizing the insulin:glucagon ratio (IGR).

Methods: Following in vitro glucose and palmitate treatment, insulin and glucagon secretion from islets isolated from C57Bl/6J mice was measured. Our human in vivo study included 21 normoglycaemia (mean age 51.9 ± 16.5 years, BMI 23.9 ± 3.5 kg/m2 , and HbA1c 36.9 ± 3.3 mmol/mol) and 20 type 2 diabetes (T2D) diagnosed individuals (duration 12 ± 7 years, mean age 63.6 ± 4.5 years, BMI 29.1 ± 2.4 kg/m2 , and HbA1c 52.3 ± 9.5 mmol/mol). Individuals consumed a carbohydrate-rich or fat-rich meal (600 kcal) in a cross-over design. Plasma insulin and glucagon levels were measured at -30, -5, and 0 min, and every 30 min until 240 min after meal ingestion.

Results: The IGR measured from mouse islets was determined solely by glucose levels. The palmitate-stimulated hormone secretion was largely glucose independent in the analysed mouse islets. The acute meal tolerance test demonstrated that insulin and glucagon secretion is dependent on glycaemic status and meal composition, whereas the IGR was dependent upon meal composition. The relative reduction in IGR elicited by the fat-rich meal was more pronounced in obese individuals. This effect was blunted in T2D individuals with elevated HbA1c levels.

Conclusion: The metabolic state in normoglycaemic individuals and T2D-diagnosed individuals is regulated by glucose. We demonstrate that consumption of a low carbohydrate diet, eliciting a catabolic state, may be beneficial for weight loss, particularly in obese individuals.