Posted on Oct 28, 2014, 6 a.m.
Eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts may help reverse metabolic syndrome.
New research suggests that people with metabolic syndrome could help to rid themselves of the condition by eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts. Dr. Jordi Salas-Salvadó, Human Nutrition Unit, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Rovira i Virgili and Hospital Universitari de Sant Joan de Reus (Spain), and colleagues analyzed data from the PREDIMED randomized controlled trial, which included men and women aged 55-80 years old at high risk of heart disease. Participants were randomly assigned to consume 1 of 3 diets: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, or a low-fat diet (control). In this analysis, the researchers looked at the long-term effects of the Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome in 5801 men and women, almost 64% (3707) of which had metabolic syndrome at the start of the study. After a median follow up period of 4.8 years, results showed that people in the 2 Mediterranean diet groups had decreased central obesity and blood glucose levels. Furthermore, 28.2% of participants no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome, thus suggesting that the diet may help to reverse the condition. However, eating a Mediterranean diet appeared to have no impact on the incidence of new cases of metabolic syndrome. "Mediterranean diets supplemented with olive oil or nuts were not associated with a reduced incidence of metabolic syndrome compared with a low-fat diet; however, both diets were associated with a significant rate of reversion of metabolic syndrome," concluded the authors.
Babio N, Toledo E, Estruch R, et al. Mediterranean diets and metabolic syndrome status in the PREDIMED randomized trial. CMAJ. 2014, October 14. [Epub ahead of print]