The aim of this study was to investigate the alteration of the human urine metabolome by means of diet and to compare the metabolic effects of the nutritionally healthy New Nordic Diet (NND) with an Average Danish Diet (ADD). The NND was designed a decade ago by scientists and chefs, based on local and sustainable foods, including fish, shellfish, vegetables, roots, fruit, and berries. The NND has been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce glycemia, and lead to weight loss.
The human urine metabolome was measured by untargeted proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in samples from 142 centrally obese Danes (20-66 years old), randomized to consume the ADD or the NND. The resulting metabolomics data was processed and analyzed using advanced multivariate data analysis methods to reveal effects related to the design factors, including diet, season, sex, and changes in body weight.
Exploration of the nuclear magnetic resonance profiles revealed unique metabolite markers reflecting changes in protein and carbohydrate metabolism between the two diets. Glycine betaine, glucose, trimethylamine N-oxide and creatinine were increased in urine of the individuals following the NND compared with the ADD population, whereas relative concentrations of tartrate, dimethyl sulfone, and propylene glycol were decreased. Propylene glycol had a strong association with the homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance in the NND group. The food intake biomarkers found in this study confirm the importance of these as tools for nutritional research.
Findings from this study provided new insights into the effects of a healthy diet on glycemia, reduction of inflammation, and weight loss among obese individuals, and alteration of the gut microbiota metabolism.

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