Personalized Diet May Modify Genetic Risk for Diabetes

A recent study has shown for the first time that a various foods across a dietary pattern interact with individual variants in genes that influence risk for type 2 diabetes, leading the way toward personalized recommendations for people at high risk.

Recent investigations have identified a relationship between two common variants in genes that influence blood glucose and triglyceride concentrations, beta-cell function and type 2 diabetes risk. The genes, glucokinase regulatory protein (GCKR) and glucokinase (GCK), had previously been shown to be modified by whole grain and omega-3 fatty acid intake but a study of the wider effects of a diet have not been explored until now.

The investigators set out to see if an overall Mediterranean dietary (MD) pattern was associated with a gene-diet interaction in a high cardiovascular risk population, then to isolate specific food items that may be modifying risk.

They found that the overall adherence to a MD pattern was associated with lower triglyceride concentrations in people with a high-risk variant of the GCKR gene, providing evidence of reduced disease risk. Furthermore they identified the 6 main food items responsible for this effect: high consumption of olive oil, nuts, and vegetables and lower consumption of red meat, butter and sweetened beverages.

Commenting on their results the investigators wrote, “The present findings suggest that the adoption of the MD may decrease triglyceride concentrations, especially among the genetically high-risk population. However, more studies analyzing dietary patterns are recommended to better establish personalized recommendations.”


Sotos-Prieto M, Guillén M, Sorli JV, Portolés O, Guillem-Saiz P, Ignacio Gonzalez J, Qi L, Corella D. Relevant associations of the glucokinase regulatory  protein/glucokinase gene variation with TAG concentrations in a high-cardiovascular risk population: modulation by the Mediterranean diet. Br J Nutr. 2012 Apr 13:1-9. [Epub ahead of print]

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