Effects of carbohydrate quality and amount on plasma lactate: Results from the OmniCarb trial

Jiun Ruey Hu, Yingfei Wu, Frank M. Sacks, Lawrence J. Appel, Edgar R. Miller, J. Hunter Young, Stephen P. Juraschek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Plasma lactate is a marker of non-oxidative glucose metabolism associated with progression to diabetes. We examined the effect of carbohydrate quality (glycemic index (GI)) and amount (%kcal) on plasma lactate. We hypothesized that low GI (≤45 (g)) versus high (≥65 (G)) and low %kcal from carbohydrate (40% kcal (c)) versus high (58% kcal (C)) each would reduce lactate levels. Research design and methods We measured lactate in OmniCarb, a randomized, cross-over trial of four diets in overweight/obese adults without diabetes or cardiovascular disease (N=163). The four diets were high carbohydrate+high GI (CG, reference), high carbohydrate+low GI (Cg), low carbohydrate+high GI (cG), and low carbohydrate+low GI (cg). Participants (N=163) consumed each of the four diets over a 5-week period, separated by 2-week washout periods. Plasma lactate levels were measured at baseline, during which the participants consumed their own diets, and after each 5-week period. Results Baseline plasma lactate was 1.2 mmol/L. In the setting of high carbohydrate amount, reducing GI lowered plasma lactate non-significantly by 0.08 mmol/L (Cg vs CG: 95% CI -0.16 to 0.00; p=0.06). In the setting of high GI, reducing carbohydrate amount lowered plasma lactate by 0.10 mmol/L (cG vs CG: 95% CI -0.19 to -0.02; p=0.02). The combined effect of reducing GI and carbohydrate proportion in the diet (cg vs CG) was similar (cg vs CG: -0.08; 95% CI -0.16 to 0.00; p=0.04). All four diets reduced plasma lactate compared with baseline. Conclusions Compared with a diet with high GI and high carbohydrate amount, diets with low GI and/or low carbohydrate amount reduced plasma lactate. Whether this change in lactate leads to long-term change in glucose metabolism needs to be examined. Trial registration number NCT00608049.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number001457
JournalBMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 31 2020


  • carbohydrates
  • diet
  • insulin resistance
  • lactic acidosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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