Metabolic syndrome is defined as the presence of three or more factors such as large waist circumference, high blood pressure, low HDL-cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides and high blood sugar. The syndrome has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and death.
The findings, from a clinical trial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, may help reverse the condition, as it was determined that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts helps reverse the condition.
The study participants included 5801 people; 64% (3707) had metabolic syndrome at the start of the study.
After a median follow up period of 4.8 years, the researchers found that people in the two Mediterranean diet groups decreased their central obesity and blood glucose levels and 958 participants (28.2%) no longer met the criteria of metabolic syndrome.
“In this large, multicentre, randomized clinical trial involving people with high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil was associated with a smaller increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome compared with advice on following a low-fat diet,” writes 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, IISPV, Reus, Spain, with coauthors.
Nancy Babio, Estefanía Toledo, Ramón Estruch, Emilio Ros, Miguel A. Martínez-González, Olga Castañer, Mònica Bulló, Dolores Corella, Fernando Arós, Enrique Gómez-Gracia, Valentina Ruiz-Gutiérrez, Miquel Fiol, José Lapetra, Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventos, Lluís Serra-Majem, Xavier Pintó, Josep Basora, José V. Sorlí, Jordi Salas-Salvadó. Mediterranean diets and metabolic syndrome status in the PREDIMED randomized trial. CMAJ, October 2014 DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.140764