Numerous weight loss diets have been designed and then carried out by people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. There have been varying rates of success. Now researchers are beginning to look at which diets are best for individuals with given types of genes.
Investigators at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, United States, looked at three types of weight loss diets in individuals with a gene known as rs2287019, which has been linked with obesity and how the body handles sugar.
This particular study published in January 2012 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was part of the Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies (POUNDS LOST) trial. It included 737 overweight adults with the gene rs2287019: they were randomly assigned to four different weight-loss diets.
Results of the study: At the end of 6 months greater weight loss took place in the participants on a low-fat diet than in those in groups with a diet containing a higher fat content. Those in the low-fat diet group also had lower blood sugar levels and greater sensitivity to insulin than the other volunteers.
From these results it was concluded that individuals with the gene rs2287019 showed greatest improvement in:
- blood sugar levels, and
- the ability to use sugar
when consuming a low-fat, high carbohydrate, high fiber diet.
How the low-fat diet worked best for the rs2287019 participants is not yet known, but one study showed the four types of diets had different effects on how energy was expended. The study, performed under the auspices of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, USA, was published in September 2011 in the International Journal of Obesity in London.
Ninety-nine participants from the POUNDS LOST trial were randomly assigned to the four diets mentioned above. After 6 months it was found the participants consuming the low-fat diet:
- lost more fat,
- were more physically active, and
- spent more calories by physical activity
than those consuming higher fat diets.
The volunteers consuming the higher fat diets broke down more non-fat tissue for use as energy than those on the low-fat diets.
Possibly the higher success rates of the overweight people with the rs2287019 gene who followed the low-fat diets could be due to the increased physical activity and their body’s use of fat for energy. Of course, not everyone carries the rs2287019 gene and the test for it is not routinely carried out in your doctor’s office, but if low-fat diets help people to become active and burn fat, then they are likely to be good for everyone.
Why not discuss the possibility of a low-fat diet with your doctor or dietitian?