WebMD Health News
Daniel J. DeNoon
Louise Chang, MD
Dec. 8, 2008 -- Here's part of the answer to the metabolic syndrome: Nuts!
Older adults at high risk of heart disease are more likely to
reverse their metabolic syndrome if they go on the Mediterranean diet -- and eat 2
tablespoons of mixed nuts each day.
The metabolic syndrome is a combination of factors -- such as belly fat,
high blood fats, and high blood sugar -- that together mean a person is at high
risk of heart disease.
"A traditional Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts could be a useful tool
in the management of the metabolic syndrome," suggest Jordi Salas-Salvado, MD,
PhD, of the University of Rovira i Virgili in Reus, Spain, and colleagues.
Salas-Salvado is a scientific advisor to the International Nut Council.
Another study researcher, Emilio Ros, MD, PhD, is a scientific advisor to the
California Walnut Commission.
The one-year Salas-Salvado study enrolled 1,224 older men and women at high
risk of heart disease. Nearly half had diabetes; more than 60% had metabolic
syndrome. The volunteers -- all already members of a Mediterranean culture --
were randomly assigned to one of three groups:
All three groups were allowed to eat as much food as they wanted and were
not told to get more exercise.
A year later, nobody lost weight. And about the same number of people
developed newly diagnosed metabolic syndrome in each group.
But among patients who already had metabolic syndrome, those in the nut
group were 70% more likely to have reversal of metabolic syndrome than those in
the control group.
"The novelty of our finding is that a positive effect on metabolic syndrome
was achieved by diet alone, in the absence of weight loss or increased ...
physical activity," Salas-Salvado and colleagues note. "In our study, nuts
outperformed virgin olive oil ... and likely had as much or more of a salutary
effect than the Mediterranean diet itself."
The researchers caution that although nut eaters had a reversal of metabolic
syndrome, the study did not continue long enough to find out whether they
actually had less heart disease.
The findings appear in the Dec. 8/22 issue of Archives of Internal
SOURCE:Salas-Salvado, J. Archives of Internal Medicine, Dec. 8/22, 2008; vol
168: pp 2449-2458.
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