Nondigestible Carbohydrates Affect Metabolic Health and Gut Microbiota in Overweight Adults after Weight Loss

Alexandra M Johnstone* (Corresponding Author), Jennifer Kelly, Sheila Ryan, Reyna Romero-Gonzalez, Hannah McKinnon, Claire Fyfe, Erik Naslund, Ruben Lopez-Nicolas, Douwina Bosscher, Angela Bonnema, Carmen Frontela-Saseta, Gaspar Ros-Berruezo, Graham Horgan, Xiaolei Ze, Jo Harrold, Jason Halford, Silvia W Gratz, Sylvia H Duncan, Soraya Shirazi-Beechey, Harry J Flint

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The composition of diets consumed following weight loss (WL) can have a significant impact on satiety and metabolic health.

OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to test the effects of including a nondigestible carbohydrate to achieve weight maintenance (WM) following a period of WL.

METHODS: Nineteen volunteers [11 females and 8 males, aged 20-62 y; BMI (kg/m2): 27-42] consumed a 3-d maintenance diet (15%:30%:55%), followed by a 21-d WL diet (WL; 30%:30%:40%), followed by 2 randomized 10-d WM diets (20%:30%:50% of energy from protein:fat:carbohydrate) containing either resistant starch type 3 (RS-WM; 22 or 26 g/d for females and males, respectively) or no RS (C-WM) in a within-subject crossover design without washout periods. The primary outcome, WM after WL, was analyzed by body weight. Secondary outcomes of fecal microbiota composition and microbial metabolite concentrations and gut hormones were analyzed in fecal samples and blood plasma, respectively. All outcomes were assessed at the end of each dietary period.

RESULTS: Body weight was similar after the RS-WM and C-WM diets (90.7 and 90.8 kg, respectively), with no difference in subjectively rated appetite. During the WL diet period plasma ghrelin increased by 36% (P < 0.001), glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) decreased by 33% (P < 0.001), and insulin decreased by 46% (P < 0.001), but no significant differences were observed during the RS-WM and C-WM diet periods. Fasting blood glucose was lower after the RS-WM diet (5.59 ± 0.31 mmol/L) than after the C-WM diet [5.75 ± 0.49 mmol/L; P = 0.015; standard error of the difference between the means (SED): 0.09]. Dietary treatments influenced the fecal microbiota composition (R2 = 0.054, P = 0.031) but not diversity.

CONCLUSIONS: The metabolic benefits, for overweight adults, from WL were maintained through a subsequent WM diet with higher total carbohydrate intake. Inclusion of resistant starch in the WM diet altered gut microbiota composition positively and resulted in lower fasting glucose compared with the control, with no apparent change in appetite. This trial was registered at as NCT01724411.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1859-1870
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number7
Early online date8 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s) on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition 2020.

We thank Petra Louis for qPCR advice. The authors’ re-sponsibilities were as follows—AMJ, RR-G, HJF, SWG, andSHD: designed and carried out dietary trial studies, withAMJ, RR-G, HM, HJF, SWG, SHD, EN, RL-N, GR-B, CF-S,J Harrold, J Halford, and CF conducting the related research;DB and AB: provided study design support and productdevelopment; CF-S, XZ, JK, SR, and SS-B: carried out the workon gut microbiota and associated bioinformatic analysis; ENconducted the gut hormone analysis; GH: carried out statisticalanalysis of anthropometric parameters; AMJ, HJF, SHD, andSS-B: wrote the manuscript; AMJ, SHD, CF, HJF, SS-B, DB, AB,and JK: had primary resp2onsibility for final content; and allauthors: read and approved the final manuscript.


  • gut microbiota
  • gut health
  • resistant starch
  • weight loss
  • obesity
  • appetite
  • fiber
  • fibre
  • Non-digestible carbohydrates
  • human
  • non-digestible carbohydrate


Dive into the research topics of 'Nondigestible Carbohydrates Affect Metabolic Health and Gut Microbiota in Overweight Adults after Weight Loss'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this