The study, published in The FASEB Journal suggests that for some people, overindulgence at the dinner table or at snack time is enough to trigger signs of metabolic disease.
Specifically, the team of Dutch researchers found that just one high-calorie shake was enough to make people with metabolic disease worse; while in others relatively short periods of overeating can trigger the beginnings of metabolic disease.
"Acute effects of diet are mostly small, but may have large consequences in the long run," commented study co-author Dr Suzan Wopereis, from TNO in The Netherlands. "Our novel approach allows detection of small but relevant effects, thereby contributing to the urgently needed switch from disease-care to health-care, aiming for a life-long optimal health and disease prevention."
Wopereis and colleagues analysed the metabolic effects of a high-fat diet challenge in two groups of male volunteers. The first group included 10 healthy male volunteers, while the second group included nine volunteers with metabolic syndrome and who had a combination of two or more risk factors for heart disease, such as unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high blood lipids, and abdominal fat.
Both groups had blood samples taken, before and after consuming a high-fat milk-shake (challenge) in three distinct interventions: 10 healthy men at baseline, 10 healthy men after 4 weeks of high-fat, high-calorie diet (1300 kcal/d extra), and in nine men with metabolic syndrome (MetS).
Blood samples measuring 61 biomarkers related to adipose tissue mass and function, systemic stress, metabolic flexibility, vascular health, and glucose metabolism, were taken before the high fat challenge and for eight hours after.
“The MetS subjects had increased fasting concentrations of biomarkers representing the 3 core processes, glucose, TG, and inflammation control, and the challenge response curves of most biomarkers were altered,” reported the team.
In the healthy participants, the researchers found that the four week high-calorie diet intervention did not lead to alterations the same three processes when compared with the pre-intervention state.
However, they reported that the challenge response curves of almost all endocrine, metabolic, and inflammatory processes regulating these core processes were altered, “demonstrating major molecular physiologic efforts to maintain homeostasis.”
The Dutch authors concluded by suggested that changes to such a challenge response are a more sensitive biomarker of metabolic resilience than changes in fasting concentrations.
Source: The FASEB Journal
Volume 29, Number 11, Pages 4600-4613, doi: 10.1096/fj.14-269852
“Quantifying phenotypic flexibility as the response to a high-fat challenge test in different states of metabolic health”
Authors: Alwine F. M. Kardinaal, et al