Navigation Links
Low-carb diets alter glucose formation by the liver

A new study shows that a low-carbohydrate diet changes hepatic energy metabolism. When carbohydrates are restricted, the liver relies more on substances like lactate and amino acids to form glucose, instead of glycerol. These findings are in the November issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The article is also available online at Wiley Interscience (

Over the past 30 years, the U.S. population has reduced its fat intake, and increased its consumption of carbohydrates. During the same time period, obesity has been rising along with the prevalence of metabolic liver disease in which fatty deposits in the liver can lead to inflammation, fibrosis and cirrhosis. Some evidence has suggested that a high carbohydrate diet leads to fat formation in the liver, although confirming the association has been difficult.

To better understand hepatic energy production and glucose formation among various types of diets, researchers led by Jeffery Browning of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center measured the sources of hepatic glucose and TCA cycle flux in weight-stable subjects, and in subjects following carbohydrate- or calorie-restricted diets.

They recruited 14 subjects whose BMI fell between 25 and 35, and divided them into two groups of seven, matching them for age, BMI, gender and ethnicity. They also included seven lean subjects (BMI < 25) to act as a weight-stable comparison group.

The high-BMI groups followed either a low-carbohydrate or a low-calorie diet for fourteen days, while the weight-stable group continued their regular diet. All subjects then underwent an overnight metabolic study in which the researchers simultaneously assessed the metabolic pathways of hepatic glucose production and the TCA cycle.

In the weight-stable group, who consumed carbohydrates as a significant proportion of their diet, the TCA cycle alone provided sufficient energy to drive glucose formation. "This was not the case in individuals undergoing carbohydrate restriction," the authors report.

Carbohydrate restriction increased the rate of glucose formed using lactate or amino acids (GNGpep). "This suggests that in fasted human subjects undergoing weight loss, the elevated gluconeogenesis associated with carbohydrate restriction is driven by substrates such as lactate or amino acids," the authors report. In spite of this, TCA cycle flux in the low-carbohydrate group was similar to the low-calorie group, indicating similar rates of energy generation.

In contrast to previous reports, the present study showed similar hepatic glucose production among the dietary groups. The low-carbohydrate group was able to maintain hepatic glucose production at the levels observed for the weight-stable and low-calorie groups by increasing glucose formation using lactate or amino acids to match the reduction in glucose formation from glycerol.

"This observation is reminiscent of 'hepatic autoregulation' by which endogenous glucose production remains unchanged in the setting of altered gluconeogenesis or glycogenolysis because the two pathways tend to compensate for each other," the authors report.

They noted it was interesting that the increased glucose formation using lactate or amino acids in the low-carbohydrate group was not associated with increased TCA cycle flux (i.e. energy production.) However, they did not measure absolute rates of fatty acid delivery to the liver or ketone body production, limiting their ability to further interpret that finding.

"We have shown that the sources from which endogenous glucose is produced are dependent upon dietary macronutrient composition," the authors write. They suggest that the shift in glucose metabolism associated with a low carbohydrate diet could be beneficial in individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) due to improved disposal of hepatic fat.

In conclusion, these findings may partly explain the correlation between carbohydrate intake and severity of liver disease in individuals with NAFLD.


Contact: Sean Wagner

Related medicine news :

1. Low-Carb Diets Better Than Low-Fat Diets at Preventing Diabetes
2. Diabetes Group Backs Low-Carb Diets
3. Low-carb diet reduces inflammation and blood saturated fat in metabolic syndrome
4. Low-Carb Diet May Slow Prostate Tumor Growth
5. A low-carb diet may stunt prostate tumor growth
6. Phone World-famed Martin Schiff, M.D., at 310-454-6172 for Free Weight Loss No Diet, No Stuff Method. Hates Diets, Loves to Have People Help Themselves
7. Announces Q2 2008 Results
8. Whos Who Weight Specialist Martin Schiff, M.D., 86, Devoting Rest of Life to Spreading Truth About Diets, Wont Accept Compensation From Anyone, Sending Complete Guide Free to All
9. NEJM: Low-fat diets not best for weight loss: New study by Ben-Gurion U. of the Negev
10. Survey Indicates Lifestyle Change Is More Important Than Diets
11. Appoints New Chief Information Officer Laura Klein
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... ... Royal River Natural Foods — a locally-owned, independent natural health store in ... nutritional supplement creatine, along with resistance training for a year, had more new bone ... report is part of the December 2015 issue of Natural Insights for Well Being®, ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... According to an article ... filed a discrimination claim against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, claiming ... Act (ACA) plans are breaking the clause in the law prohibiting the denial of ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Califia Farms , one of ... iconic bottle has won top honors in Beverage World Magazine’s Global Packaging Design Awards, ... that it has been selected as a 2015 U.S.A. Taste Champion in the American ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... ... Growth in medical payments per workers’ compensation claim in Louisiana slowed from ... care, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). ... payments per claim with more than seven days of lost time continued to be ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... CloudLIMS ... 2015 Golden Bridge Business Awards under the New Products and Services category for ... based sample management software that helps labs organize data and track ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Va. , Dec. 1, 2015 As ... Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) approaches, ... small and independent pharmacies comply with looming FDA ... InfiniTrak is entering endorsement agreements with State ... pharmacy services administration organization (PSAO) to exclusively provide ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 2015  CytoSorbents Corporation (NASDAQ: CTSO ), ... blood purification technology to reduce deadly uncontrolled inflammation ... that Dr. Phillip Chan , President & ... the LD Micro Main Event 2015 and the ... which will be held in December. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... A federal court has denied the state of ... filed by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) challenging the ... law that forces employers and consumers to pay drugstores higher ... must now defend a law that raises health care ... Mark Merritt . --> Arkansas ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: