The Use and Effectiveness of Selected Alternative Markers for Insulin Sensitivity and Secretion Compared with Gold Standard Markers in Dietary Intervention Studies in Individuals without Diabetes: Results of a Systematic Review

Obesity and Diabetes

Nutrition Security and Societal Aspects

Background: The gold-standard techniques for measuring insulin sensitivity and secretion are well established. However, they may be perceived as invasive and expensive for use in dietary intervention studies. Thus, surrogate markers have been proposed as alternative markers for insulin sensitivity and secretion. This systematic review aimed to identify markers of insulin sensitivity and secretion in response to dietary intervention and assess their suitability as surrogates for the gold-standard methodology. Methods: Three databases, PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane were searched, intervention studies and randomised controlled trials reporting data on dietary intake, a gold standard of analysis of insulin sensitivity (either euglycaemic-hyperinsulinaemic clamp or intravenous glucose tolerance test and secretion (acute insulin response to glucose), as well as surrogate markers for insulin sensitivity (either fasting insulin, area under the curve oral glucose tolerance tests and HOMA-IR) and insulin secretion (disposition index), were selected. Results: We identified thirty-five studies that were eligible for inclusion. We found insufficient evidence to predict insulin sensitivity and secretion with surrogate markers when compared to gold standards in nutritional intervention studies. Conclusions: Future research is needed to investigate if surrogate measures of insulin sensitivity and secretion can be repeatable and reproducible in the same way as gold standards.

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This work was commissioned by the Obesity and Diabetes Task Force.