The Gut Microbiome Modifies the Association Between a Mediterranean Diet and Diabetes in USA Hispanic/ Latino Population

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Feb 17;107(3):e924-e934. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgab815.


Context: The interrelationships among the gut microbiome, the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet), and a clinical endpoint of diabetes is unknown.

Objective: To identify gut microbial features of a MedDiet and examine whether the association between MedDiet and diabetes varies across individuals with different gut microbial profiles.

Methods: This study included 543 diabetic, 805 prediabetic, and 394 normoglycemic participants from a cohort study of USA Hispanic/Latino men and women. Fecal samples were profiled using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Adherence to MedDiet was evaluated by an index based on 2 24-hour dietary recalls.

Results: A greater MedDiet adherence was associated with higher abundances of major dietary fiber metabolizers (e.g., Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, false-discovery-rate-adjusted P [q] = 0.01), and lower abundances of biochemical specialists (e.g., Parabacteroides, q = 0.04). The gut microbiomes of participants with greater MedDiet adherence were enriched for functions involved in dietary fiber degradation but depleted for those related to sulfur reduction and lactose and galactose degradation. The associations between MedDiet adherence and diabetes prevalence were significantly stronger among participants with depleted abundance of Prevotella (pinteraction = 0.03 for diabetes, 0.02 for prediabetes/diabetes, and 0.02 for prediabetes). A 1-SD deviation increment in the MedDiet index was associated with 24% (odds ratio [OR] 0.76; 95% CI, 0.59-0.98) and 7% (OR 0.93; 95% CI, 0.72-1.20) lower odds of diabetes in Prevotella noncarriers and carriers, respectively.

Conclusion: Adherence to MedDiet is associated with diverse gut microorganisms and microbial functions. The inverse association between the MedDiet and diabetes prevalence varies significantly depending on gut microbial composition.

Keywords: diabetes; diet; microbiome.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / microbiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control
  • Diet Records
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prediabetic State / epidemiology*
  • Prediabetic State / microbiology
  • Prediabetic State / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult