News: Mediterranean diet plus nuts reverses metabolic syndrome

March 1, 2009

A traditional Mediterranean diet with one serving of mixed nuts can reverse metabolic syndrome.

A traditional Mediterranean diet supplemented with one serving per day of mixed nuts can reverse the metabolic syndrome, a constellation of symptoms known to increase the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes mellitus, and mortality.

The finding comes from a multicenter 1-year randomized trial called PREDIMED (Prevención Dieta Mediterránea). Over 1,200 adults at high risk for CVD received quarterly education about a Mediterranean diet, which consists of a high intake of cereals, vegetables, and fruits; a moderate intake of fish and alcohol (mostly wine); and a low intake of dairy, meats, and sweets. This diet was supplemented with either 1 L/wk of virgin olive oil or 30 g/d of mixed nuts.

At 1 year, prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was reduced by 6.7% in the group following the Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil, by 13.7% in the group following the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, and by 2.0% in the control group. After adjusting for various factors, the odds ratio for reversing the metabolic syndrome was 1.3 in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group and 1.7 in the Mediterranean diet plus nuts group, compared with the control group.

Salas-Salvadó Fernández-Ballart J, Ros E, et al. Effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts on metabolic syndrome status. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:2449-2458.