Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 111 (4) 864-876 [2020-04-01; online 2020-02-26]
A whole-grain (WG)-rich diet has shown to have potential for both prevention and treatment of the metabolic syndrome (MetS), which is a cluster of risk factors that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Different WGs may have different health effects. WG rye, in particular, may improve glucose homeostasis and blood lipids, possibly mediated through fermentable dietary fiber and lignans. Recent studies have also suggested a crucial role of the gut microbiota in response to WG. The aim was to investigate WG rye, alone and with lignan supplements [secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG)], and WG wheat diets on glucose tolerance [oral-glucose-tolerance test (OGTT)], other cardiometabolic outcomes, enterolignans, and microbiota composition. Moreover, we exploratively evaluated the role of gut microbiota enterotypes in response to intervention diets. Forty men with MetS risk profile were randomly assigned to WG diets in an 8-wk crossover study. The rye diet was supplemented with 280 mg SDG at weeks 4-8. Effects of treatment were evaluated by mixed-effects modeling, and effects on microbiota composition and the role of gut microbiota as a predictor of response to treatment were analyzed by random forest plots. The WG rye diet (± SDG supplements) did not affect the OGTT compared with WG wheat. Total and LDL cholesterol were lowered (-0.06 and -0.09 mmol/L, respectively; P < 0.05) after WG rye compared with WG wheat after 4 wk but not after 8 wk. WG rye resulted in higher abundance of Bifidobacterium [fold-change (FC) = 2.58, P < 0.001] compared with baseline and lower abundance of Clostridium genus compared with WG wheat (FC = 0.54, P = 0.02). The explorative analyses suggest that baseline enterotype is associated with total and LDL-cholesterol response to diet. WG rye, alone or with SDG supplementation, compared with WG wheat did not affect glucose metabolism but caused transient LDL-cholesterol reduction. The effect of WG diets appeared to differ according to enterotype. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02987595.