Habitual dietary intake versus glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion in postmenopausal women

J Intern Med. 1999 Jun;245(6):581-91. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2796.1999.00503.x.


Objective: The major aim was to study the relation between habitual dietary intake and glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion in postmenopausal women. Dietary intake was also compared between women with normal (NGT) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).

Design: Habitual dietary intake was studied using a modified diet history method, from which the energy, carbohydrate, fat and protein intake was calculated. Glucose tolerance was determined as the 2 h glucose value after a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test. Insulin sensitivity was studied with a euglycemic, hyperinsulinaemic clamp, whilst insulin secretion was measured as the acute (2-5 min) response to iv arginine (5 g) at fasting, 14 and >25 mmol L(-1) glucose.

Setting: Clinical research unit at the University Hospital in Malmo, Sweden. Subjects. A total of 74 women (mean+/-SD age 58.7+/-0.4 years).

Results: In the entire group, the 2 h glucose level correlated with polyunsaturated fat intake (PUFA, r = 0.41, P < 0.001), and negatively with carbohydrate intake (r = -0.23, P = 0.05). The relation between 2 h glucose and PUFA was independent of body fat content and insulin sensitivity in a multivariate model. Insulin sensitivity correlated with energy intake (r = 0.31, P = 0.007) and PUFA (r = -0.27. P = 0.022). However, these correlations were not significant after adjustment for body fat content in a multivariate model. There were no correlations between insulin secretory variables and habitual dietary intake. Of the 74 women, 60 had NGT and 14 had IGT. The NGT and IGT groups did not differ in intakes of total energy, carbohydrate or protein. The IGT women had higher intake of PUFA (P = 0.003), whilst the total, saturated and monounsaturated fat intake did not differ between the groups.

Conclusion: Dietary parameters are not independently associated with insulin sensitivity or insulin secretion in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, dietary habits are largely similar in women with NGT and IGT, although subtle differences cannot be excluded due to the small study size. Therefore, habitual intake of total carbohydrate or total fat seems not to be the major determinant of glucose tolerance in nondiabetic Caucasian postmenopausal women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diet Records
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Postmenopause / blood*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin