Mediterranean diet and metabolic syndrome: the evidence

Public Health Nutr. 2009 Sep;12(9A):1607-17. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009990449.


Background: The Mediterranean diet has long been related to a lower cardiovascular disease risk; however, more recent evidences also indicate that it has a favourable effect on adiposity and type 2 diabetes.

Design: Review of the available literature in relation to Mediterranean diet and metabolic syndrome.

Results: Several components of Mediterranean diet patterns have been inversely related with body mass index. They are considered to be modulators of insulin resistance, can exert beneficial effects on blood pressure, improve atherogenic dyslipidemia or attenuate the inflammatory burden associated with metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome has been associated with dietary patterns rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oil, legumes and fish, moderate in alcohol and low in red meat, processed meat, refined carbohydrates and whole-fat dairy products.

Conclusions: There is much evidence suggesting that the Mediterranean diet could serve as an anti-inflammatory dietary pattern, which could help to fight diseases related to chronic inflammation, including metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / epidemiology
  • Hyperlipidemias / etiology
  • Hyperlipidemias / prevention & control
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors