, Volume 53, Issue 8, pp 1700-1708
Date: 12 May 2010

A family history of type 2 diabetes increases risk factors associated with overfeeding



The purpose of the study was to test prospectively whether healthy individuals with a family history of type 2 diabetes are more susceptible to adverse metabolic effects during experimental overfeeding.


We studied the effects of 3 and 28 days of overfeeding by 5,200 kJ/day in 41 sedentary individuals with and without a family history of type 2 diabetes (FH+ and FH− respectively). Measures included body weight, fat distribution (computed tomography) and insulin sensitivity (hyperinsulinaemic–euglycaemic clamp).


Body weight was increased compared with baseline at 3 and 28 days in both groups (p < 0.001), FH+ individuals having gained significantly more weight than FH− individuals at 28 days (3.4 ± 1.6 vs 2.2 ± 1.4 kg, p < 0.05). Fasting serum insulin and C-peptide were increased at 3 and 28 days compared with baseline in both groups, with greater increases in FH+ than in FH− for insulin at +3 and +28 days (p < 0.01) and C-peptide at +28 days (p < 0.05). Fasting glucose also increased at both time points, but without a significant group effect (p = 0.1). Peripheral insulin sensitivity decreased in the whole cohort at +28 days (54.8 ± 17.7 to 50.3 ± 15.6 µmol min−1 [kg fat-free mass]−1, p = 0.03), and insulin sensitivity by HOMA-IR decreased at both time points (p < 0.001) and to a greater extent in FH+ than in FH− (p = 0.008). Liver fat, subcutaneous and visceral fat increased similarly in the two groups (p < 0.001).


Overfeeding induced weight and fat gain, insulin resistance and hepatic fat deposition in healthy individuals. However, individuals with a family history of type 2 diabetes gained more weight and greater insulin resistance by HOMA-IR. The results of this study suggest that healthy individuals with a family history of type 2 diabetes are predisposed to adverse effects of overfeeding.

Trial registration:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00562393


The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia (no. #427639).