The Combination of Whey Protein and Dietary Fiber Does Not Alter Low-Grade Inflammation or Adipose Tissue Gene Expression in Adults with Abdominal Obesity

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The Review of Diabetic Studies,2019,15,1,83-94.
Published:February 2019
Type:Original Article
Author(s) affiliations:

Elin Rakvaag1, Rasmus Fuglsang-Nielsen1, Knud Erik Bach Knudsen2, Kjeld Hermansen1,3, and Søren Gregersen1,4

1Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, 8200 Aarhus N, DENMARK.

2Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, 8830 Tjele, DENMARK.

3Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, 8200 Aarhus N, DENMARK.

4Steno Diabetes Center Aarhus, 8200 Aarhus N, DENMARK. 


Background: Abdominal obesity is characterized by low-grade inflammation and plays a central role in the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Dietary factors can influence low-grade inflammation and affect adipose tissue function. Aim: To investigate the separate and combined effects of whey protein and cereal fiber on inflammatory markers and adipose tissue gene expression in abdominal obesity. Methods: We performed a 12-week, double-blind, randomized controlled dietary intervention in 65 adults with abdominal obesity. The participants were randomized to 4 groups using a 2 × 2 factorial design; they received either 60 g/day of whey protein or maltodextrin in combination with high-fiber wheat bran products (30 g fiber/ day) or low-fiber refined wheat products (10 g fiber/ day). Plasma concentrations of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), and adiponectin were measured before and after intervention. Changes in gene expression related to inflammation, insulin signaling, and lipid metabolism were measured in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue. Results: After intervention, TNF-α was reduced for both high-fiber groups compared with baseline, but did not significantly differ from the low-fiber groups. There were no differences in fasting or postprandial inflammatory markers between the groups. The relative gene expression of ribosomal protein S6 kinase B1 (S6K1) was increased after whey protein compared with maltodextrin consumption. Conclusion: Intake of whey protein in combination with high cereal fiber content did not differentially affect low-grade inflammation or adipose tissue gene expression compared with maltodextrin and low fiber content in individuals with abdominal obesity.