Dietary patterns differently associate with inflammation and gut microbiota in overweight and obese subjects

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 20;9(10):e109434. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109434. eCollection 2014.


Background: Associations between dietary patterns, metabolic and inflammatory markers and gut microbiota are yet to be elucidated.

Objectives: We aimed to characterize dietary patterns in overweight and obese subjects and evaluate the different dietary patterns in relation to metabolic and inflammatory variables as well as gut microbiota.

Design: Dietary patterns, plasma and adipose tissue markers, and gut microbiota were evaluated in a group of 45 overweight and obese subjects (6 men and 39 women). A group of 14 lean subjects were also evaluated as a reference group.

Results: Three clusters of dietary patterns were identified in overweight/obese subjects. Cluster 1 had the least healthy eating behavior (highest consumption of potatoes, confectionary and sugary drinks, and the lowest consumption of fruits that was associated also with low consumption of yogurt, and water). This dietary pattern was associated with the highest LDL cholesterol, plasma soluble CD14 (p = 0.01) a marker of systemic inflammation but the lowest accumulation of CD163+ macrophages with anti-inflammatory profile in adipose tissue (p = 0.05). Cluster 3 had the healthiest eating behavior (lower consumption of confectionary and sugary drinks, and highest consumption of fruits but also yogurts and soups). Subjects in this Cluster had the lowest inflammatory markers (sCD14) and the highest anti-inflammatory adipose tissue CD163+ macrophages. Dietary intakes, insulin sensitivity and some inflammatory markers (plasma IL6) in Cluster 3 were close to those of lean subjects. Cluster 2 was in-between clusters 1 and 3 in terms of healthfulness. The 7 gut microbiota groups measured by qPCR were similar across the clusters. However, the healthiest dietary cluster had the highest microbial gene richness, as evaluated by quantitative metagenomics.

Conclusion: A healthier dietary pattern was associated with lower inflammatory markers as well as greater gut microbiota richness in overweight and obese subjects.

Trial registration: NCT01314690.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet*
  • Eating
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Microbiota*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / microbiology*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Biomarkers

Associated data


Grants and funding

This work was supported by the National Research Agency (Investissements d’avenir ANR-10-IAHU-05, ANR MICRO-Obes, and ANR Nutra2sense), KOT-Ceprodi Laboratory (Florence Massiera and Reginald Alouche) and the association “Fondation Coeur et Arteres” Danone Research PhD grant. Other funding came from the European Commission FP7 grant HEALTH-F4-2007-201052 and HEALTH-F4-2012-305312 (MetaCardis project). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.