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A diet based on multiple functional concepts improves cardiometabolic risk parameters in healthy subjects

Juscelino Tovar1*, Anne Nilsson2, Maria Johansson1, Rickard Ekesbo3, Ann-Margreth Åberg3, Ulla Johansson4 and Inger Björck12

Author Affiliations

1 Antidiabetic Food Centre, Lund University, P.O. Box 121, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden

2 Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Lund University, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden

3 Primary Health Care Centre, Dalby, Sweden

4 Idun Mat och Näringskonsult, Lund, Sweden

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:29  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-29

Published: 2 April 2012



Different foods can modulate cardiometabolic risk factors in persons already affected by metabolic alterations. The objective of this study was to assess, in healthy overweight individuals, the impact of a diet combining multiple functional concepts on risk markers associated with cardiometabolic diseases (CMD).


Fourty-four healthy women and men (50-73 y.o, BMI 25-33, fasting glycemia ≤ 6.1 mmol/L) participated in a randomized crossover intervention comparing a multifunctional (active) diet (AD) with a control diet (CD) devoid of the "active" components. Each diet was consumed during 4 wk with a 4 wk washout period. AD included the following functional concepts: low glycemic impact meals, antioxidant-rich foods, oily fish as source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, viscous dietary fibers, soybean and whole barley kernel products, almonds, stanols and a probiotic strain (Lactobacillus plantarum Heal19/DSM15313).


Although the aim was to improve metabolic markers without promoting body weight loss, minor weight reductions were observed with both diets (0.9-1.8 ± 0.2%; P < 0.05). CD did not modify the metabolic variables measured. AD promoted significant changes in total serum cholesterol (-26 ± 1% vs baseline; P < 0.0001), LDL-cholesterol (-34 ± 1%; P < 0.0001), triglycerides (-19 ± 3%; P = 0.0056), LDL/HDL (-27 ± 2%; P < 0.0001), apoB/apoA1 (-10 ± 2%; P < 0.0001), HbA1c (-2 ± 0.4%; P = 0.0013), hs-CRP (-29 ± 9%; P = 0.0497) and systolic blood pressure (-8 ± 1%¸ P = 0.0123). The differences remained significant after adjustment for weight change. After AD, the Framingham cardiovascular risk estimate was 30 ± 4% (P < 0.0001) lower and the Reynolds cardiovascular risk score, which considers CRP values, decreased by 35 ± 3% (P < 0.0001).


The improved biomarker levels recorded in healthy individuals following the multifunctional regime suggest preventive potential of this dietary approach against CMD.

Cardiometabolic disease; metabolic syndrome; dietary prevention; functional foods; randomized controlled trial; crossover design