Tag Archives: metabolic syndrome

Mediterranean Diet Associated with Decreased Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to bestow countless health benefits to those who consume it, including cardiovascular benefits, mental health benefits, and metabolic health benefits. Metabolic

Photo by Flickr user  Mike Denver (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nokolor/268292175)
Photo by Flickr user Mike Denver (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nokolor/268292175)

syndrome is of particular interest to researchers, as there have been significant increases in the various components of the condition (high blood pressure, high sugar levels, excess body weight, and abnormal cholesterol levels) in the recent years which is very likely to be related to dietary changes across all cultures.

A new study in press in the journal Metabolism aimed to examine the relationship between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and metabolic syndrome in Polish adults.

8821 Polish adults (aged 45-69 years) participated in this study. Dietary information was collected via self-reported questionnaire and adherence to the Mediterranean diet was scored using the MedTypeDiet Score system.

Height, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure measurements were taken for each participant during a physical examination.

Other socio-demographic and lifestyle information was also collected.

Important Findings:

  • Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was the same between men and women.
  • MetTypeDiet scores were significantly (and negatively) associated with waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, and triglyceride levels.
  • Those with the highest adherence to the Mediterranean diet were least likely to have metabolic syndrome, obesity, high triglyceride levels, and hypertension.
  • Moderate wine consumption, low dairy intake, and a high unsaturated/saturated fatty acid ratio were negatively associated with metabolic syndrome.

The results of this study add to the mounting evidence that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for lowering the risk of metabolic

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Photo by Flickr user waferboard (http://www.flickr.com/photos/waferboard/3273636749)

disease. Specifically, this study found that those with the high adherence to the Mediterranean diet were less likely to have metabolic syndrome, obesity, high triglyceride levels, and hypertension. Looking at individual dietary components, moderate wine consumption, low dairy intake and a higher ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids resulted in a significantly lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome in Polish adults.


Grosso, G., Stepaniak, U., Micek, A., Topor-Mądry, R., Stefler, D., Szafraniec, K., Bobak, M., and Pająk, A. 2015. A Mediterranean-type diet is associated with better metabolic profile in urban Polish adults: Results from the HAPIEE study. Metabolism http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2015.02.007

Simple Dietary Changes (ex. Increasing Fiber) May Be Just As Effective in Losing Weight Than Complicated Changes

Most of the studies on diet effectiveness one reads are focused on the more broad aspect of the diet. Specifically, there are many studies out there on the Mediterranean Diet, the Western Diet, the Paleo Diet, et cetera, however, what is less often studied is specific

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Photo by Flickr user Scott Teresi (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scott-teresi/4199022650)

aspects within an individual diet, and how that specific aspect may or may not affect the health of the consumer.

A new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine aimed to assess a diet based on the complex recommendations by the American Heart Association (AHA) compared with a more simple diet focused on high-fiber foods on adults with metabolic syndrome.

240 adults in the Worcester, MA area with metabolic syndrome were recruited for this study. Participants had BMIs between 30 and 40 kg/m2 and were between the ages of 21 and 70. Participants were mainly women, white, and well-educated.

Participants were randomly assigned a high-fiber diet or a diet based on AHA recommendations. Caloric intake for meals was determined to be appropriate for weight loss for each participant.

Weight and height was measured at the beginning of the study, and then at 3, 6, and 12 months post diet intervention.

Other information collected at each visit included: use of medications, use of dietary supplements, adherence to the study diets, fasting glucose levels, fasting plasma insulin levels, hemoglobin A1c, lipid profile, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels, interleukin-6 levels, tumor necrosis factor-α receptor 2 levels, and blood pressure.

Important Findings:

  • After 12 months, average weight loss for the high-fiber group was 2.1kg, while average weight loss for the AHA group was 2.7kg. These differences were not found to be significant.
  • 8 participants developed diabetes during the study (7 in the high-fiber group and 1 in the AHA group).
  • Reduction of caloric intake was greater in the AHA group than the high-fiber group.
  • Blood pressure and all metabolic measurements were similar between the two groups throughout the study, with both groups showing improvements.

The results of this study suggest that following a complex diet based on AHA recommendations is statistically similar to a more simple diet of just increasing the amount of fiber consumed. Technically, the amount of weight lost following the AHA diet was greater than the high-fiber diet, however, the loss was not statistically significant.

It is important to note that the number of calories consumed in the

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Photo by Flickr user mooglet (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mooglet/4663090967)

high-fiber group was higher, so it would make sense that the participants in that group would not lose as much weight. Keeping caloric intake constant between the two groups may have provided a more accurate comparison, but that was not done in this study.

Another caveat to this study is that the participant pool was mostly white women who are well-educated, making generalizations to other groups difficult (if not impossible).

In the end, the authors concluded that the results of this study suggest that a simplified dietary approach (such as increasing the fiber in one’s diet) may be just as beneficial as a more complicated diet regime, making weight loss and improvements in metabolic measurements more accessible and easier to follow for the general population.


Yunsheng, M., Olendzki, B.C., Wang, J., Persuitte, G.M., Li, W., Fang, H., Merriam, P.A., Wedick, N.M., Ockene, I.S., Culver, A.L., Schneider, K.L., Olendzki, G., Carmody, J., Ge, T., Zhang, Z., and Pagoto, S.L. 2015. Single-Component Versus Multicomponent Dietary Goals for the Metabolic Syndrome. Annals of Internal Medicine 162(4): 249-259.

Wine and Your Health: News of the Day – 10/15/2014

A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) by a large cohort of Spanish doctors and scientists found that the “Mediterranean diet”, like the diet frequently consumed by the French and other cultures throughout the Mediterranean area (think: French Paradox), is not correlated with the onset of metabolic syndrome, and in many cases actually reversed the condition in those experiences symptoms.


Metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, is a common health problem in modern times that can be caused by obesity, sedentary behaviors, stress, and poor diet.


Building on the idea that the Mediterranean diet, as evident in the so-called French Paradox, somehow protects against these diet and weight-related disorders, Spanish researchers found that in looking at just shy of 6000 patients that were at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, a Mediterranean diet featuring extra virgin olive oil and/or nuts prevented the signs and symptoms of metabolic syndrome from occurring. Additionally, a Mediterranean diet featuring extra virgin olive oil and/or nuts was also associated with the reversal of metabolic syndrome symptoms in those patients already exhibiting these characteristics at the beginning of the study.


You may find the original article in CMAJ here.