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Open Access Research

The metabolic signature associated with the Western dietary pattern: a cross-sectional study

Annie Bouchard-Mercier123, Iwona Rudkowska13, Simone Lemieux12, Patrick Couture13 and Marie-Claude Vohl123*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF), Laval University, 2440 Hochelaga Blvd., Quebec G1V 0A6, Canada

2 Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Laval University, 2425 de l’Agriculture St, Quebec G1K 7P4, Canada

3 Endocrinology and Nephrology, CHU de Québec Research Center, 2705 Laurier Blvd., Québec G1V 4G2, Canada

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Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:158  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-158

Published: 11 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Metabolic profiles have been shown to be associated to obesity status and insulin sensitivity. Dietary intakes influence metabolic pathways and therefore, different dietary patterns may relate to modifications in metabolic signatures. The objective was to verify associations between dietary patterns and metabolic profiles composed of amino acids (AAs) and acylcarnitines (ACs).

Methods

210 participants were recruited in the greater Quebec City area between September 2009 and December 2011. Dietary patterns had been previously derived using principal component analysis (PCA). The Prudent dietary pattern was characterised by higher intakes of vegetables, fruits, whole grain products, non-hydrogenated fat and lower intakes of refined grain products, whereas the Western dietary pattern was associated with higher intakes of refined grain products, desserts, sweets and processed meats. Targeted metabolites were quantified in 37 participants with the Biocrates Absolute IDQ p150 (Biocrates Life Sciences AG, Austria) mass spectrometry method (including 14 amino acids and 41 acylcarnitines).

Results

PCA analysis with metabolites including AAs and ACs revealed two main components explaining the most variance in overall data (13.8%). PC1 was composed mostly of medium- to long-chain ACs (C16:2, C14:2, C14:2-OH, C16, C14:1-OH, C14:1, C10:2, C5-DC/C6-OH, C12, C18:2, C10, C4:1-DC/C6, C8:1 and C2) whereas PC2 included certain AAs and short-chain ACs (xLeu, Met, Arg, Phe, Pro, Orn, His, C0, C3, C4 and C5). The Western dietary pattern correlated negatively with PC1 and positively with PC2 (r = −0.34, p = 0.05 and r = 0.38, p = 0.03, respectively), independently of age, sex and BMI.

Conclusion

These findings suggest that the Western dietary pattern is associated with a specific metabolite signature characterized by increased levels of AAs including branched-chain AAs (BCAAs) and short-chain ACs.

Trial registration

NCT01343342

Keywords:
Dietary pattern; Western dietary pattern; Prudent dietary pattern; Acylcarnitine; Amino acids; Branched-chain amino acids; Metabolites