Islamabad - A new study has uncovered two biomarkers that could predict how effective certain diets will be for weight loss, particularly for people prediabetes or diabetes.

Study co-author Dr Arne Astrup, head of the Department of Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues recently published their findings.

For people who have already been diagnosed with diabetes, losing weight through diet and exercise can aid blood glucose control and lower the risk of other health conditions.

But which type of diet is most likely to achieve weight loss? It goes without saying that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dieting. However, Dr Astrup and colleagues believe that a person’s fasting blood glucose and insulin levels could be used to help identify the most effective diet for weight loss.

To reach their conclusion, the researchers analyzed the data of three dietary clinical trials: the Diet, Obesity, and Genes trial, the OPUS Supermarket intervention (SHOPUS), and the Nutrient-gene interactions in human obesity (NUGENOB) trial.

As an example, in the SHOPUS trial, adults with prediabetes who followed the New Nordic Diet - which is high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables - lost a mean of 6.06 kilograms more weight over 26 weeks, compared with those who followed a control diet. Adults with normal blood glucose levels lost around 2.20 kilograms with the New Nordic Diet.

For people with type 2 diabetes, the researchers found that a diet rich in plant-based, “healthy” fats and low in carbohydrates was best for weight loss.

In the NUGENOB trial, for example, adults with type 2 diabetes lost around 2.04 kilograms more over 10 weeks on a diet that was high in plant-based fats and low in carbohydrates, compared with those whose diet was low in fat and high in carbohydrates. The high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet was better for weight loss among adults with normal blood glucose levels.

Adding participants’ fasting insulin levels to their analysis further strengthened the identified associations between diet and weight loss, the team reports.

Based on their results, the researchers believe that fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin levels may be biomarkers for weight loss.

“Recognizing fasting plasma glucose as a key biomarker enables a new interpretation of the data from many previous studies, which could potentially lead to a breakthrough in personalized nutrition.” Meanwhile, a new research psychosocial, not physical, factor as the main culprit for lower well-being in later life.

Aging-induced physical ailments are not the primary source of lower quality of life and decreased well-being among older men and women, new research suggests.

Rather, it is psychosocial factors that have the highest influence, according to the new findings.

The study was carried out by scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), both in Germany. The team was led by Prof Karl-Heinz Ladwig, head of the Mental Health Research Group at the Institute of Epidemiology II at Helmholtz Zentrum München, and a professor of psychosomatic medicine at the TUM University Hospital. “What made the study particularly interesting was the fact that the impact of stress on emotional well-being has barely been investigated in a broader, non-clinical context,” says first author Dr. Karoline Lukaschek, an epidemiologist in the Mental Health Research Group. “Our study therefore explicitly included anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.”The team focused on “subjective well-being” (SWB), a term that scientists use to describe how people experience well-being on a personal level. By contrast, “objective well-being” refers to measuring a person’s well-being based on objectively chosen criteria, such as financial stability.

However, of all of these factors, physical ones such as multimorbidity and physical inactivity did not seem to have a significant effect on SWB. Rather, depression and anxiety had the strongest negative impact on SWB.

The authors note that as this is an observational study, it cannot explain the reasons for the associations found. Nevertheless, the authors seem confident.

“Aging itself is not inevitably associated with a decline in mood and quality of life. It is rather the case that psychosocial factors such as depression or anxiety impair subjective well-being.”

Prof Karl-Heinz Ladwig

The researchers also call for an “increased focus on mental health interventions among older adults.” Prof Ladwig says, “This is all the more important given that we know that high levels of subjective well-being are linked to a lower mortality risk.”

Finally, the authors also point out that more research is needed to understand the so-called age paradox - that is, the observed high well-being and positive outlook on life that tends to characterize seniors, despite them often experiencing a decline in physical health and having reduced social opportunities.