Background: The optimal lifestyle intervention that reverses diabetes risk factors is not known.
Objective: We examined the effect of a low-glycemic index (GI) diet and exercise intervention on glucose metabolism and insulin secretion in obese, prediabetic individuals.
Design: Twenty-two participants [mean ± SEM age: 66 ± 1 y; body mass index (in kg/m(2)): 34.4 ± 0.8] underwent a 12-wk exercise-training intervention (1 h/d for 5 d/wk at ≈ 85% of maximum heart rate) while randomly assigned to receive either a low-GI diet (LoGIX; 40 ± 0.3 units) or a high-GI diet (HiGIX; 80 ± 0.6 units). Body composition (measured by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and computed tomography), insulin sensitivity (measured with a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp with [6,6-(2)H(2)]-glucose), and oral glucose-induced insulin and incretin hormone secretion were examined.
Results: Both groups lost equal amounts of body weight (-8.8 ± 0.9%) and adiposity and showed similar improvements in peripheral tissue (+76.2 ± 14.9%) and hepatic insulin sensitivity (+27.1 ± 7.1%) (all P < 0.05). However, oral glucose-induced insulin secretion was reduced only in the LoGIX group (6.59 ± 0.86 nmol in the prestudy compared with 4.70 ± 0.67 nmol in the poststudy, P < 0.05), which was a change related to the suppressed postprandial response of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide. When corrected for changes in β cell glucose exposure, changes in insulin secretion were attenuated in the LoGIX group but became significantly elevated in the HiGIX group.
Conclusions: Although lifestyle-induced weight loss improves insulin resistance in prediabetic individuals, postprandial hyperinsulinemia is reduced only when a low-GI diet is consumed. In contrast, a high-GI diet impairs pancreatic β cell and intestinal K cell function despite significant weight loss. These findings highlight the important role of the gut in mediating the effects of a low-GI diet on type 2 diabetes risk reduction.