Effects of agar (kanten) diet on obese patients with impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2005 Jan;7(1):40-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2004.00370.x.


Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of agar diet in combination with a conventional diet (traditional Japanese food) for obese patients with impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes.

Methods: After a 4-week run-in period on their habitual diets, 76 patients were randomly assigned to have conventional diet or conventional diet with agar. Both groups were on these diets for 12 weeks. Body weight, body mass index (BMI), glycaemic control, blood pressure, insulin resistance, total body fat, fat distribution and lipids were assessed before and after the experimental period.

Results: In both groups, after 12 weeks, mean body weight, BMI, fasting glucose levels, homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance, and systolic and diastolic blood pressures had decreased significantly from their baseline values. HbA(1)c, visceral fat area, subcutaneous fat area, total body fat, insulin area under the curve after oral glucose tolerance test and total cholesterol decreased significantly in the agar-diet group. After 12 weeks, mean changes of body weight (-2.8 +/- 2.7 kg vs. -1.3 +/- 2.3 kg, p = 0.008), BMI values (-1.1 +/- 1.1 kg/m(2) vs. -0.5 +/- 0.9 kg/m(2), p = 0.009) and total cholesterol (-7.6 +/- 27.5 mg/dl vs. + 2.4 +/- 23.4 mg/dl, p = 0.036) were significantly greater in the agar-diet group than in the conventional diet group.

Conclusions: The agar diet resulted in marked weight loss due to the maintenance of reduced calorie intake and to an improvement in metabolic parameters.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Agar / administration & dosage*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diet therapy*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Insulin
  • Agar
  • Cholesterol