Purpose: Metabolic syndrome (MetS), a multicomponent condition, is a cardiovascular disease predictor. Although exposure to agricultural pesticides has been suggested as a potential contributor to the rising rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other features of metabolic disorders, no studies have focused on the association between consumption of organic food (produced without synthetic pesticides) and MetS. We aimed to investigate the cross-sectional association between organic food consumption and MetS in French adults to determine whether it would be worth conducting further studies, particularly large prospective and randomised trials.
Methods: A total of 8174 participants from the NutriNet-Santé study who attended a clinical visit and completed an organic food frequency questionnaire were included in this cross-sectional analysis. We evaluated the association between the proportion of organic food in the diet (overall and by food group) and MetS using Poisson regression models while adjusting for potential confounders.
Results: Higher organic food consumption was negatively associated with the prevalence of MetS: adjusted prevalence ratio was 0.69 (95% CI 0.61, 0.78) when comparing the third tertile of proportion of organic food in the diet with the first one (p value <0.0001). Higher consumption of organic plant-based foods was also related to a lower probability of having MetS. In addition, when stratifying by lifestyle factors (nutritional quality of the diet, smoking status, and physical activity), a significant negative association was detected in each subgroup (p values <0.05), except among smokers.
Conclusions: Our results showed that a higher organic food consumption was associated with a lower probability of having MetS. Additional prospective studies and randomised trials are required to ascertain the relationship between organic food consumption and metabolic disorders.
Keywords: Dietary pattern; Metabolic syndrome; Metabolic traits; Organic food consumption.