A low-fat diet may help curb metabolic syndrome risk in women

Metabolic syndrome is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. The diagnosis is made based on the presence of 3 or more of the following clinical signs:

  • waist circumference of 88 cm or more;
  • serum triglycerides of 1.7 mmol/L or more;
  • blood pressure of 130/85 mmHg or more;
  • HDL cholesterol of less than 1.3 mmol/L;
  • serum glucose of 5.5 mmol/L or more.

Rates of metabolic syndrome are growing in the developing world, with a recent Indian study finding rates of close to 20% among urban Indian adults (Cholesterol, 2011). Studies have shown that due to genetic susceptibility, Indian patients may be at risk of[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]…

[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()] developing metabolic syndrome even when their risk profiles are not as pronounced.

Key Point: A recent study found a nonsignificant reduction in metabolic syndrome risk among women who followed a low-fat diet when compared with those who followed their usual diet. Average fat consumption is lower overall in India compared with the United States and other parts of the developed world, but lowering dietary fat consumption is still a beneficial strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk.

In an effort to determine whether lowering dietary fat intake can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, The Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial randomized more than 48,000 women in the United States to a low-fat diet (consisting of 20% energy from fat) or their usual diet, and followed them for a mean of 8.1 years.

The investigators found that at year 3, women in the low-fat diet group had a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, but the results were not statistically significant. Of note, women in the low-fat diet group had a 19% lower odds ratio for the use of cholesterol-lowering medication after 1 year on the diet.

Although the risk of metabolic syndrome is rising in India, average dietary fat content is still lower in India than in developed countries: Population-based estimates in the United States place the average percentage of calories from fat at 32.6% for American women (CDC, 2003), while estimates for urban Indian women are at 26.4% (PLoS ONE, 2011).

Sources: Neuhouser ML, Howard B, Lu J, et al. A low-fat dietary pattern and risk of metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women: The Women’s Health Initiative. Metabolism. May 25, 2012 [epublication ahead of print].

Sawant A, Mankeshwar R, Shah S, Raghavan R, et al. Prevalence of metabolic syndrome in urban India. Cholesterol. 2011:920983. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3114375/?tool=pubmed.

Bowen L, Ebrahim S, De Stavola B, et al. Dietary intake and rural-urban migration in India: a cross-sectional study. PLoS ONE. 2011;6(6):e14822. Available at: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0014822#pone-0014822-t002.

Wright JD, Wang CY, Kennedy-Stephenson J, et al. Dietary intake of ten key nutrients for public health, United States: 1999–2000. Advance data from vital and health statistics; no. 334. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 2003. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad334.pdf.

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This entry was posted in Non-Communicable Disease, Nutrition, Nutrition Featured 2, Primary Care and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Volume: .

One Comment

  1. Gudidevuni Jamuna Devi
    Posted Mar 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Its an informative article and we need more data from Indian population

    If more information can be contributed regarding dietary requirements in our set up

    Since there is a rise in number of cases (Metabolic Syndrome).

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