Low-glycemic load (GL) diets improve insulin resistance and glucose homeostasis in individuals with diabetes. Less is known about whether low-GL diets, independent of weight loss, improve the health profile for persons without diabetes or other preexisting conditions. We conducted a randomized, cross-over feeding study testing low- compared to High-GL diets on biomarkers of inflammation and adiposity in healthy adults. Eighty participants (n = 40 with BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m²; n = 40 with BMI 28.0-40.0 kg/m²) completed two 28-d feeding periods in random order where one period was a high-GL diet (mean GL/d = 250) and the other a low-GL diet (mean GL/d = 125). Diets were isocaloric with identical macronutrient content (as percent energy). All food was provided and participants maintained weight and usual physical activity. Height, weight, and DXA were measured at study entry and weight assessed again thrice per week. Blood was drawn from fasting participants at the beginning and end of each feeding period and serum concentrations of high-sensitivity CRP, serum amyloid A, IL-6, leptin, and adiponectin were measured. Linear mixed models tested the intervention effect on the biomarkers; models were adjusted for baseline biomarker concentrations, diet sequence, feeding period, age, sex, and body fat mass. Among participants with high-body fat mass (>32.0% for males and >25.0% for females), the low-GL diet reduced CRP (P = 0.02) and marginally increased adiponectin (P = 0.06). In conclusion, carbohydrate quality, independent of energy, is important. Dietary patterns emphasizing low-GL foods may improve the inflammatory and adipokine profiles of overweight and obese individuals.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00622661.