Background: Alow carbohydrate diet (LCD) is more beneficial for the glycometabolism in type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and may be effective in reducing depression. Almond, which is a common nut, has been shown to effectively improve hyperglycemia and depression symptoms. This study aimed to determine the effect of an almond-based LCD (a-LCD) on depression and glycometabolism, as well as gut microbiota and fasting glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) in patients with T2DM.
Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial which compared an a-LCD with a low-fat diet (LFD). Forty-five participants with T2DM at a diabetes club and the Endocrine Division of the First and Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University between December 2018 to December 2019 completed each dietary intervention for 3 months, including 22 in the a-LCD group and 23 in the LFD group. The indicators for depression and biochemical indicators including glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), gut microbiota, and GLP-1 concentration were assessed at the baseline and third month and compared between the two groups.
Results: A-LCD significantly improved depression and HbA1c (p <0.01). Meanwhile, a-LCD significantly increased the short chain fatty acid (SCFAs)-producing bacteria Roseburia, Ruminococcus and Eubacterium. The GLP-1 concentration in the a-LCD group was higher than that in the LFD group (p <0.05).
Conclusions: A-LCD could exert a beneficial effect on depression and glycometabolism in patients with T2DM. We speculate that the role of a-LCD in improving depression in patients with T2DM may be associated with it stimulating the growth of SCFAs-producing bacteria, increasing SCFAs production and GPR43 activation, and further maintaining GLP-1 secretion. In future studies, the SCFAs and GPR43 activation should be further examined.
Keywords: GLP-1; HbA1c; almond; carbohydrate; depression; diet; microbiota; short-chain fatty acids; type 2 diabetes.