Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean food that has garnered international interest due to its various beneficial effects. Focusing on the effect of fermentation, this study hypothesized that consumption of fermented kimchi would have more beneficial effects compared with that of fresh kimchi on metabolic parameters that are related to cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome risks in overweight and obese subjects. Twenty-two overweight and obese patients with body mass indexes greater than 25 kg/m(2) were randomly assigned to two 4-week diet phases separated by a 2-week washout period (crossover design). During each diet phase, the subjects consumed either fresh or fermented kimchi. Anthropometric data showed significant decreases in body weight, body mass index, and body fat in both groups, and the fermented kimchi group showed a significant decrease in the waist-hip ratio and fasting blood glucose. Net differences in the systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, percent body fat, fasting glucose, and total cholesterol in the fermented kimchi group were significantly greater than those in the fresh kimchi group. There was also a tendency for a decrease in fasting insulin after consumption of fermented kimchi. Therefore, the ingestion of fermented kimchi had positive effects on various factors associated with metabolic syndrome, including systolic and diastolic blood pressures, percent body fat, fasting glucose, and total cholesterol, compared with the fresh kimchi. These results suggest that the maturity of kimchi (fresh vs fermented) may affect obesity, lipid metabolism, and inflammatory processes.
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