Herring and beef meals lead to differences in plasma 2-aminoaidipic acid, β-alanine, 4-hydroxyproline, cetoleic acid and docosahexaenoic acid concentrations in overweight men
Journal article, 2015

Background: Dietary guidelines generally recommend increasing fish intake and reducing red meat intake for better long-term health. Few studies have compared the metabolic differences between eating meat and fish. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether there are differences in the postprandial plasma metabolic response to meals containing baked beef, baked herring, and pickled herring. Methods: Seventeen overweight men (BMI 25-30 kg/m(2), 41-67 y of age) were included in a randomized crossover intervention study. Subjects ate baked herring, pickled herring, and baked beef based meals in a randomized order and postprandial blood plasma samples were taken over 7 h. Plasma metabolomics were measured with the use of gas chromatography mass spectrometry and areas under the curve for detected metabolites were compared between meals. Results: The plasma postprandial response of 2-aminoadipic acid, a suggested marker of diabetes risk, was 1.6 times higher after the beef meal than after the baked herring meal (P < 0.001). Plasma p-alanine and 4-hydroxyproline both were markedly greater after beef intake than after herring intake (16 and 3.4 times the response of baked herring, respectively; P < 0.001). Herring intake led to a greater plasma postprandial response from docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and cetoleic acid compared with beef (17.6 and 150 times greater, respectively; P < 0.001), whereas hippuric acid and benzoic acid were elevated after pickled herring compared with baked herring (5.4 and 43 times higher; P < 0.001). Conclusions: These results in overweight men confirm that DHA and cetoleic acid reflect herring intake, whereas p-alanine and 4-hydroxyproline are potential biomarkers for beef intake. The greater postprandial rise in 2-aminoadipic acid after the beef meal, coupled to its proposed role in stimulating insulin secretion, may have importance in the context of red meat intake and increased diabetes risk.

plasma biomarker


2-aminoadipic acid




beta alanine



Alastair Ross

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Cecilia Svelander

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Ingrid Undeland

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Rui Pinto Pinto

Umeå University

Bioinformatics Infrastructure for Life Sciences

Ann-Sofie Sandberg

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Journal of Nutrition

0022-3166 (ISSN) 1541-6100 (eISSN)

Vol. 145 11 2456-2463

Subject Categories

Food Science


Basic sciences





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