1-Deoxysphingolipids (1-deoxySLs) are atypical sphingolipids, which are formed in a side reaction during sphingolipid de-novo synthesis. Recently, we demonstrated that 1-deoxySLs are biomarkers for the prediction of T2DM in obese, non-diabetic patients. Here we investigated the relevance of 1-deoxySLs as long-term predictive biomarkers for the incidence of T2DM in an asymptomatic population. Here, we analyzed the plasma sphingoid base profile in a nested group of non-diabetic individuals (N = 605) selected from a population-based study including 5 year follow-up data (CoLaus study). 1-DeoxySLs at baseline were significantly elevated in individuals who developed T2DM during the follow-up (p<0.001), together with increased glucose (p<5.11E-14), triglycerides (p<0.001) and HOMA-IR indices (p<0.001). 1-Deoxy-sphinganine (1-deoxySA) and 1-deoxy-sphingosine (1-deoxySO) were predictive for T2DM, even after adjusting for fasting glucose levels in the binary regression analyses. The predictive value of the combined markers 1-deoxySA+glucose were superior to glucose alone in normal-weight subjects (p<0.001) but decreased substantially with increasing BMI. Instead, plasma adiponectin and waist-to-hip ratio appeared to be better risk predictors for obese individuals (BMI>30kg/m2). In conclusion, elevated plasma 1-deoxySL levels are strong and independent risk predictors of future T2DM, especially for non-obese individuals in the general population.