Dietary patterns, inflammation and the metabolic syndrome

N. Ahluwalia, V. A. Andreeva, E. Kesse-Guyot, S. Hercberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

216 Scopus citations


Aim: The study of dietary patterns offers a comprehensive, real-life approach towards examining the complex diet and disease relationship. The simultaneous association of dietary patterns with inflammation and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) has not been extensively reviewed. This report reviews the association of dietary patterns with inflammation in the context of the MetS. Methods: Original English-language research studies with humans were identified via MEDLINE, using inflammation, MetS, whole diets and dietary patterns as keywords. The findings were carefully examined and synthesized along consistent axes. Results: Many observational and a few prospective studies, as well as some randomized controlled trials (RCTs), support an inverse association between a Mediterranean dietary pattern and markers of inflammation. The link is generally independent of traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and weight loss. The few studies that have examined the association between following a healthy dietary pattern, evaluated using various diet quality scores, and inflammation report an inverse association; however, this association was attenuated upon adjusting for CVD risk factors. A Mediterranean dietary pattern has also been associated with a reduced risk of the MetS in several cross-sectional studies and a few prospective studies conducted with healthy people. Few RCTs (lasting 1-2. years) have confirmed the benefits of following a Mediterranean diet on MetS risk in obese individuals, in those with the MetS or in those at CVD risk. The evidence, albeit limited, for a link between healthy diets based on other diet quality scores and the MetS supports a similar inverse association for the primary and secondary prevention of the MetS. Conclusion: Adhering to healthy diets such as the Mediterranean diet and/or national dietary guidelines can reduce inflammation and the MetS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalDiabetes and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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