Rock, C.L., S.W. Flatt, B. Pakiz, E.L.Quintana, D.D. Heath, B.K. Rana, L. Natarajan, 2016. Effects of diet composition on weight loss, metabolic factors and biomarkers in a 1-year weight loss intervention in obese women examined by baseline insulin resistance status. Metabolism. 65(11):1605-1613.
Background: Obesity is a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer incidence and pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer mortality, which may be explained by several metabolic and hormonal factors (sex hormones, insulin resistance, and inflammation) that are biologically related. Differential effects of dietary composition on weight loss and these metabolic factors may occur in insulin-sensitive vs. insulin-resistant obese women. Objective. To examine the effect of diet composition on weight loss and metabolic, hormonal and inflammatory factors in overweight/obese women stratified by insulin resistance status in a 1-year weight loss intervention. Methods and Results. Nondiabetic women who were overweight/obese (n = 245) were randomly assigned to a lower fat (20% energy), higher carbohydrate (65% energy) diet; a lower carbohydrate (45% energy), higher fat (35% energy) diet; or a walnut-rich (18% energy), higher fat (35% energy), lower carbohydrate (45% energy) diet. All groups lost weight at follow-up (P < 0.0001), with mean (SEM) percent loss of 9.2 (1.1)% in lower fat, 6.5 (0.9)% in lower carbohydrate, and 8.2 (1.0)% in walnut-rich groups at 12 months. The diet x time x insulin resistance status interaction was not statistically significant in the model for overall weight loss, although insulin sensitive women at 12 months lost more weight in the lower fat vs. lower carbohydrate group (7.5 kg vs 4.3 kg, P = 0.06), and in the walnut-rich vs. lower carbohydrate group (8.1 kg vs 4.3 kg, P = 0.04). Sex hormone binding globulin increased within each group except in the lower carbohydrate group at 12 months (P < 0.01). C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 decreased at follow-up in all groups (P < 0.01). Conclusions. Findings provide some support for differential effects of diet composition on weight loss depending on insulin resistance status. Prescribing walnuts is associated with weight loss comparable to a standard lower fat diet in a behavioral weight loss intervention. Weight loss itself may be the most critical factor for reducing the chronic inflammation associated with increased breast cancer risk and progression.