Food consumption of branched chain amino acids and insulin resistance: A systematic review of observational studies in humans

Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2020 Dec;40:277-281. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2020.09.007. Epub 2020 Sep 30.


This review systematically investigated observational studies in humans that evaluated the dietary intake of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and its association with insulin resistance. A search implemented through the electronic databases of PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science. The evaluation of insulin resistance or the risk of developing insulin resistance in humans were the variables of interest in the search for articles. After using the selection criteria, three studies included in this review. The Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) was the instrument used to evaluate the diet in all of the selected studies. Overall, 1940 studies identified and three thoroughly reviewed. We found only one study with positive effects of BCAA on insulin resistance; the other two reviewed studies did not demonstrate positive effects of the dietary intake of BCAA, individually or the sum of three amino acids on variables of interest. In this sense, the associations between BCAA and insulin resistance are inconsistent, potentially due to other longitudinal outcomes.

Keywords: Amino acids; Diabetes mellitus; Diet; Insulin resistance; Leucine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Risk Factors


  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain