Dietary Strategies for Metabolic Syndrome: A Comprehensive Review

Nutrients. 2020 Sep 29;12(10):2983. doi: 10.3390/nu12102983.


Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic risk factors, characterized by abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c), hypertension, and insulin resistance. Lifestyle modifications, especially dietary habits, are the main therapeutic strategy for the treatment and management of metabolic syndrome, but the most effective dietary pattern for its management has not been established. Specific dietary modifications, such as improving the quality of the foods or changing macronutrient distribution, showed beneficial effects on metabolic syndrome conditions and individual parameters. On comparing low-fat and restricted diets, the scientific evidence supports the use of the Mediterranean Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet intervention as the new paradigm for metabolic syndrome prevention and treatment. The nutritional distribution and quality of these healthy diets allows health professionals to provide easy-to-follow dietary advice without the need for restricted diets. Nonetheless, energy-restricted dietary patterns and improvements in physical activity are crucial to improve the metabolic disturbances observed in metabolic syndrome patients.

Keywords: DASH diet; Mediterranean diet; dietary pattern; high-protein diet; low-carbohydrate diet; low-fat diet; metabolic syndrome; plant-based diet.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Diet, Healthy / methods*
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Diet, Vegetarian / methods
  • Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension / methods
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / prevention & control*