Diet-induced weight loss improves not only cardiometabolic risk markers but also markers of vascular function: a randomized controlled trial in abdominally obese men

Peter J Joris, Jogchum Plat, Yvo Ham Kusters, Alfons Jhm Houben, Coen DA Stehouwer, Casper G Schalkwijk, Ronald P Mensink
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2017, 105 (1): 23-31

BACKGROUND: Many trials assessing effects of dietary weight loss on vascular function have been performed without no-weight loss control groups and in individuals with obesity-related morbidities. Usually a limited set of vascular function markers has been investigated.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine effects of diet-induced weight loss on various vascular function markers and differences between normal-weight and abdominally obese men at baseline and after weight reduction.

DESIGN: Twenty-five healthy, normal-weight men (waist circumference: <94 cm) and 54 abdominally obese men (waist circumference: 102-110 cm) participated. Abdominally obese participants were randomly allocated to a dietary weight-loss or a no-weight loss control group. Individuals from the weight-loss group followed a calorie-restricted diet for 6 wk to obtain a waist circumference <102 cm followed by a weight-maintenance period of 2 wk. The control group maintained their habitual diet and physical activity levels. The primary outcome was the change in brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD).

RESULTS: Compared with the control group, FMD did not change in the weight-loss group, but carotid-to-femoral pulse wave velocity tended to decrease by 0.5 m/s (P = 0.065). The retinal arteriolar caliber increased by 5 μm (P < 0.001) and the arteriolar-to-venular ratio by 0.02 (P < 0.01). Soluble endothelial selectin and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule concentrations decreased (P < 0.001). Also, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triacylglycerol, glucose, insulin, C-peptide, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, and blood pressure improved (P < 0.05 for all variables). Except for FMD, these markers differed at baseline between normal-weight and abdominally obese men but became comparable after weight loss.

CONCLUSIONS: In abdominally obese men, dietary weight loss targeting a waist circumference of <102 cm improved retinal microvascular caliber, plasma biomarkers of microvascular endothelial function, and the more conventional cardiometabolic risk markers. Aortic stiffness tended to decrease, but FMD was not changed. This trial was registered at as NCT01675401.

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