Which Diets Are Effective in Reducing Cardiovascular and Cancer Risk in Women with Obesity? An Integrative Review

Nutrients. 2021 Oct 4;13(10):3504. doi: 10.3390/nu13103504.


Women are more affected by obesity than men which increases their risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Therefore, it is important to understand the effectiveness of different types of diet in the context of women's health. This review aims to summarize the scientific evidence on the effects of different types of diet for women with obesity and their impact on CVD and cancer risk. This review included epidemiological and clinical studies on adult women and different types of diets, such as the Mediterranean (MED) diet, the Traditional Brazilian Diet, the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH), intermittent fasting (IF), calorie (energy) restriction, food re-education, low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) and a very low-carbohydrate diet (VLCD). Our main findings showed that although LCDs, VLCD and IF are difficult to adhere to over an extended period, they can be good options for achieving improvements in body weight and cardiometabolic parameters. MED, DASH and the Traditional Brazilian Diet are based on natural foods and reduced processed foods. These diets have been associated with better women's health outcomes, including lower risk of CVD and cancer and the prevention and treatment of obesity.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; cardiovascular and cancer risk; intermittent fasting; low-carb diet; obesity; plant-based diet.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Healthy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Women's Health*