Type 2 diabetes preventive effects with a 12-months sardine-enriched diet in elderly population with prediabetes: An interventional, randomized and controlled trial

Clin Nutr. 2021 May;40(5):2587-2598. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.03.014. Epub 2021 Mar 18.


Background: Fish could play a role in preventing type 2 diabetes (T2D) but there has been little specification about the type of fish and the preventive mechanism involved in its health claim. The sardine is a source of omega-3 and taurine that, in isolation or in synergy, would produce T2D-delaying through different molecular mechanism.

Hypothesis: The consumption of twice a week of sardine, during one year would reduce T2D-developing risk in a population with prediabetes (preDM) and old age.

Design: 152 subjects with fasting glucose between 100-124 mg/dL aged ≥65 yo were recruited from three primary care centers in Barcelona and were randomly distributed among two interventional groups: control group (CG) and sardine group (SG). Both groups received same T2D-prevention nutritional during a year but only SG had to add 200 g of sardine per week. All variables were collected before to start and at the end of the diet. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03557541).

Results: 152 people were randomized into CG (n=77) and SG (n=75) with 18 and 12 drop outs respectively. Subjects in SG, significantly compared to CG, decreased percentage classified-individuals in a very high risk group to develop T2D according to FINDRISC (p=0.035). In addition to increasing HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin and decreasing triglycerides (p<0.05) and blood pressure (<0.05), SG showed a lower HOMA-IR (p=0.032). The consumption of sardine characteristics nutrients as omega-3, EPA and DHA, vitamin D, fluorine and taurine were higher for SG (p<0.05). These results agreed with the increased of taurine, fatty acid (FA) omega-3 and bile acids circulating metabolites (p<0.05). Changes erythrocyte membrane FA were detected only in SG with a decrease of 5 omega-6 FA (p<0.001) and an increase of 3 omega-3 FA types (p<0.001).

Conclusion: We conclude that a year T2D-prevention diet with sardine supplementation has a greater protective effect against developing T2D and CV events.

Keywords: Diabetes; Fish; Omega-3; Prevention; Sardine; Taurine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Fishes*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prediabetic State*


  • Blood Glucose

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03557541