Two Healthy Diets Modulate Gut Microbial Community Improving Insulin Sensitivity in a Human Obese Population

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Jan;101(1):233-42. doi: 10.1210/jc.2015-3351. Epub 2015 Oct 27.


Context: Gut microbiota, which acts collectively as a fully integrated organ in the host metabolism, can be shaped by long-term dietary interventions after a specific diet.

Objective: The aim was to study the changes in microbiota after 1 year's consumption of a Mediterranean diet (Med diet) or a low-fat, high-complex carbohydrate diet (LFHCC diet) in an obese population.

Design: Participants were randomized to receive the Med diet (35% fat, 22% monounsaturated) and the LFHCC diet (28% fat, 12% monounsaturated).

Setting and participants: The study was conducted in 20 obese patients (men) within the Coronary Diet Intervention With Olive Oil and Cardiovascular Prevention (CORDIOPREV) study, an ongoing prospective, randomized, opened, controlled trial in patients with coronary heart disease.

Main outcome measure: We evaluated the bacterial composition and its relationship with the whole fecal and plasma metabolome.

Results: The LFHCC diet increased the Prevotella and decreased the Roseburia genera, whereas the Med diet decreased the Prevotella and increased the Roseburia and Oscillospira genera (P = .028, .002, and .016, respectively). The abundance of Parabacteroides distasonis (P = .025) and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (P = .020) increased after long-term consumption of the Med diet and the LFHCC diet, respectively. The changes in the abundance of 7 of 572 metabolites found in feces, including mainly amino acid, peptide, and sphingolipid metabolism, could be linked to the changes in the gut microbiota.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that long-term consumption of the Med and LFHCC diets exerts a protective effect on the development of type 2 diabetes by different specific changes in the gut microbiota, increasing the abundance of the Roseburia genus and F. prausnitzii, respectively.

Trial registration: NCT00924937.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Metabolome
  • Microbiota*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / microbiology*
  • Olive Oil / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Olive Oil

Associated data