Lifestyle Counseling and Supplementation with Flaxseed or Walnuts Influence the Management of Metabolic Syndrome

Key Laboratory of Nutrition and Metabolism, Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.
Journal of Nutrition (Impact Factor: 3.88). 11/2010; 140(11):1937-42. DOI: 10.3945/jn.110.126300
Source: PubMed


A healthy lifestyle may ameliorate metabolic syndrome (MetS); however, it remains unclear if incorporating nuts or seeds into lifestyle counseling (LC) has additional benefit. A 3-arm, randomized, controlled trial was conducted among 283 participants screened for MetS using the updated National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria for Asian Americans. Participants were assigned to a LC on the AHA guidelines, LC + flaxseed (30 g/d) (LCF), or LC + walnuts (30 g/d) (LCW) group. After the 12-wk intervention, the prevalence of MetS decreased significantly in all groups: -16.9% (LC), -20.2% (LCF), and -16.0% (LCW). The reversion rate of MetS, i.e. those no longer meeting the MetS criteria at 12 wk, was not significantly different among groups (LC group, 21.1%; LCF group, 26.6%; and LCW group, 25.5%). However, the reversion rate of central obesity was higher in the LCF (19.2%; P = 0.008) and LCW (16.0%; P = 0.04) groups than in the LC group (6.3%). Most of the metabolic variables (weight, waist circumference, serum glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein (Apo) B, ApoE, and blood pressure) were significantly reduced from baseline in all 3 groups. However, the severity of MetS, presented as the mean count of MetS components, was significantly reduced in the LCW group compared with the LC group among participants with confirmed MetS at baseline (P = 0.045). Our results suggest that a low-intensity lifestyle education program is effective in MetS management. Flaxseed and walnut supplementation may ameliorate central obesity. Further studies with larger sample sizes and of longer duration are needed to examine the role of these foods in the prevention and management of MetS.

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