The influence of dietary habits on the onset and progress of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications is generally recognized. However, the preventive abilities of the diet are still poorly documented. It is hypothesized that the adoption of anti-inflammatory dietary regimes based on multiple functional food concepts with possible synergistic interactions, may modulate the risk for developing cardiometabolic diseases.
Within this frame, the multifactorial effect of a non-vegetarian dietary portfolio was assessed in healthy overweight subjects, in a controlled randomized intervention under weight-maintenance conditions. The study investigated the synergistic results of combining different preventive food concepts in a multifunctional diet, aiming to promote relevant changes in different factors associated with cardiometabolic risk. The diet incorporated, among others, foods and ingredients capable of modulating glycemia and blood lipids, significant amounts of fruit antioxidants, probiotics, fiber-rich products and omega-3 fatty acids. Results of the 4-week trial showed remarkable reductions in plasma triglycerides and cholesterol fractions. In addition, significantly decreased plasma levels of a subclinical inflammation marker (CRP) and lowered systolic blood pressure were recorded, indicating the preventive potential of this dietary approach against cardiometabolic diseases (A diet based on multiple functional concepts improves cardiometabolic risk parameters in healthy subjects. Tovar et al., Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:29)
A simpler functional diet combining the prebiotic and low glycemic index features of dried legumes and whole barley kernels, has been evaluated for its impact on cardiometabolic risk markers in healthy overweight women. Results from the 4-week trial showed a significant improvement of the blood lipid profile, LDL-cholesterol in particular, blood pressure and the Framingham 10-y cardiovascular risk index, without influence from body weight changes. These observations strengthen the potential of multifunctional diets as tools for the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases (Combining functional features of whole grain barley and legumes for dietary reduction of cardiometabolic risk: a randomized crossover intervention in mature women. Tovar et al., British Journal of Nutrition 2014, 111: 706-714).
An ongoing medium-term intervention explores the impact of the above described multifunctional diet on several metabolic risk markers, microbiota composition and body weight loss in healthy overweight subjects. New studies are being designed in order to assess the effects of functional anti-inflammatory diets with simultaneous action on the metabolic risk profile and body weight regulation.
Project leader: Prof Juscelino Tovar
Tovar J, Nilsson A, Johansson M and Björck I, Combining functional features of whole grain barley and legumes for dietary reduction of cardiometabolic risk: a randomized crossover intervention in healthy mature women. British Journal of Nutrition. DOI:10.1017/S000711451300305X
Tovar J, Nilsson A, Johansson M, Ekesbo R, Åberg AM, Johansson U, Björck I (2012) A diet based on multiple functional concepts improve cardiometabolic risk parameters in healthy subjects. Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:29.