Interaction between cholesterol and glucose metabolism during dietary carbohydrate modification in subjects with the metabolic syndrome

Maarit Hallikainen (Corresponding Author), Leena Toppinen, Hannu Mykkänen, Jyrki J. Ågren, David E. Laaksonen, Tatu A. Miettinen, Leo Niskanen, Kaisa Poutanen, Helena Gylling

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BACKGROUND: Carbohydrate modification based on rye bread and pasta enhances early insulin secretion in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. OBJECTIVE: Because the actions of insulin and cholesterol metabolism are interrelated, the question is raised of whether it is possible to alter cholesterol metabolism by means of dietary carbohydrate modification. DESIGN: We investigated the 12-wk effects of dietary carbohydrate modification on cholesterol synthesis and absorption by measuring the ratios of surrogate markers of precursor (cholestenol, desmosterol, and lathosterol) and absorption (cholestanol and plant sterols) sterols to cholesterol and their association to glucose metabolism in 74 subjects with the metabolic syndrome. The subjects were randomly assigned to diets with rye bread and pasta (RPa) or oat, wheat bread, and potato (OWPo) as the main carbohydrate source (34% and 37% of energy intake, respectively). RESULTS: During the study, serum cholesterol concentrations remained unchanged. Cholesterol synthesis was lower (6-10% for cholestenol and lathosterol; P < 0.05) and absorption higher (9%; P < 0.05 for sitosterol) with the OWPo diet than at baseline. With the RPa diet, cholesterol absorption was lower and synthesis higher than with the OWPo diet. The increment in the glucose area under the curve with the RPa diet was positively related to baseline cholesterol synthesis (eg, lathosterol; r = 0.480, P < 0.05) and negatively to absorption (for cholestanol; r = -0.520, P < 0.05). In the combined group, the changes in the cholestanol ratio and the insulinogenic index were interrelated (r = -0.464, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Carbohydrate modifications had dissimilar effects on cholesterol metabolism. Consumption of RPa, as compared with OWPo, may be clinically more favorable because it seems to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol, a factor crucial in the development of arterial atherosclerosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1385-1392
Number of pages8
JournalThe American journal of clinical nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • Rye
  • oat
  • wheat
  • metabolic syndrome
  • glucose metabolism
  • cholesterol metabolism
  • sitosterol
  • campesterol
  • lathosterol
  • randomized controlled trial

Cite this

Hallikainen, M., Toppinen, L., Mykkänen, H., Ågren, J. J., Laaksonen, D. E., Miettinen, T. A., Niskanen, L., Poutanen, K., & Gylling, H. (2006). Interaction between cholesterol and glucose metabolism during dietary carbohydrate modification in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 84(6), 1385-1392.