Nav: Home

Short-term study suggests vegan diet can boost gut microbes related to body weight, body composition and blood sugar control

September 16, 2019

New research presented at this year's Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Barcelona, Spain (16-20 Sept) suggests that a 16-week vegan diet can boost the gut microbes that are related to improvements in body weight, body composition and blood sugar control. The study is by Dr Hana Kahleova, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), Washington, DC, USA, and colleagues.

Gut microbiota play an important role in weight regulation, the development of metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. The aim of this study was to test the effect of a 16-week plant-based diet on gut microbiota composition, body weight, body composition, and insulin resistance in overweight adults with no history of diabetes.

The study included 147 participants (86% women and 14% men; mean age was 55.6±11.3 years), who were randomised to follow a low-fat vegan diet (n=73) or to make no changes to their diet (n=74) for 16 weeks. At baseline and 16 weeks, gut microbiota composition was assessed, using uBiome kits. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to measure body composition. A standard method called the PREDIM index was used to assess insulin sensitivity.

Following the 16-week study, body weight was reduced significantly in the vegan group (treatment effect average -5.8 kg), particularly due to a reduction in fat mass (average -3.9 kg) and in visceral fat. Insulin sensitivity also increased significantly in the vegan group.

The relative abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii increased in the vegan group (treatment effect +4.8%). Relative changes in Faecalibacterium prausnitzii were associated with decreases in body weight, fat mass and visceral fat. The relative abundance of Bacteoides fragilis also increased in the vegan group (treatment effect +19.5%). Relative changes in Bacteroides fragilis were associated with decreases in body weight, fat mass and visceral fat, and increases in insulin sensitivity.

The authors conclude: "A 16-week low-fat vegan dietary intervention induced changes in gut microbiota that were related to changes in weight, body composition and insulin sensitivity in overweight adults."

However, the authors acknowledge that further work is needed to separate out the effects of the vegan diet itself from that of the reduced calories. They say: "A plant-based diet has been shown to be effective in weight management, and in diabetes prevention and treatment. This study has explored the link between changes in the gut microbiome, and changes in body weight, body composition, and insulin sensitivity. We have demonstrated that a plant-based diet elicited changes in gut microbiome that were associated with weight loss, reduction in fat mass and visceral fat volume, and increase in insulin sensitivity."

They add: "The main shift in the gut microbiome composition was due to an increased relative content of short-chain fatty acid producing bacteria that feed on fibre. Therefore, high dietary fibre content seems to be essential for the changes observed in our study. We plan to compare the effects of a vegan and a standard portion-controlled diet on gut microbiome in people with type 2 diabetes, in order to separate out the positive effects of the reduced calories in the diet from those caused by the vegan composition of the diet."

They continue: "This is a fascinating area of research and we have been collecting data from more study participants. We hope we will be able to present them at the next year's 2020 EASD meeting."

The authors say that fibre is the most important component of plant foods that promotes a healthy gut microbiome. Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is one of the short-chain fatty acids producing bacteria, which degrade plant complex sugars and starch to produce health-promoting butyrate and/or other short-chain fatty acids that have been found to have a beneficial effect on body weight, body composition, and insulin sensitivity. The authors say: "Eating more fibre is the number one dietary recommendation for a healthy gut microbiome."
-end-


Diabetologia

Related Diabetes Articles:

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.
Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.
People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.
Diabetes, but not diabetes drug, linked to poor pregnancy outcomes
New research indicates that pregnant women with pre-gestational diabetes who take metformin are at a higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes -- such as major birth defects and pregnancy loss -- than the general population, but their increased risk is not due to metformin but diabetes.
New oral diabetes drug shows promise in phase 3 trial for patients with type 1 diabetes
A University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus study finds sotagliflozin helps control glucose and reduces the need for insulin in patients with type 1 diabetes.
Can continuous glucose monitoring improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin
Two studies in the Jan. 24/31 issue of JAMA find that use of a sensor implanted under the skin that continuously monitors glucose levels resulted in improved levels in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin multiple times a day, compared to conventional treatment.
Complications of type 2 diabetes affect quality of life, care can lead to diabetes burnout
T2D Lifestyle, a national survey by Health Union of more than 400 individuals experiencing type 2 diabetes (T2D), reveals that patients not only struggle with commonly understood complications, but also numerous lesser known ones that people do not associate with diabetes.
A better way to predict diabetes
An international team of researchers has discovered a simple, accurate new way to predict which women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Older Americans with diabetes living longer without disability, US study shows
Older Americans with diabetes born in the 1940s are living longer and with less disability performing day to day tasks than those born 10 years earlier, according to new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.
More Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Space
One of the most consistent questions we get at the show is from parents who want to know which episodes are kid-friendly and which aren't. So today, we're releasing a separate feed, Radiolab for Kids. To kick it off, we're rerunning an all-time favorite episode: Space. In the 60's, space exploration was an American obsession. This hour, we chart the path from romance to increasing cynicism. We begin with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan, with a story about the Voyager expedition, true love, and a golden record that travels through space. And astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson explains the Coepernican Principle, and just how insignificant we are. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.