An increasing number of people in Western industrialised countries suffer from metabolic syndrome. What does this imply? Metabolic syndrome is a combination of several typical lifestyle diseases. It is also known as the "deadly quartet" because it consists of four risk factors rather than being a single disease. The main factor is excess fat, especially around the stomach. This increases the risk of the other three factors: high blood pressure, high glucose levels or Type 2 diabetes ("age-related diabetes") and metabolic disorders, which then reinforce each other. When three of these disorders concur, this is known as "metabolic syndrome".
A study published in 2010 investigated whether the consumption of walnuts has an influence on the risk of metabolic syndrome. The study results showed that the risk of metabolic syndrome was reduced by consuming 30 g of walnuts per day. A lifestyle consultation took place in addition to the study on the consumption of nuts.
The study included 283 men and women who either already suffered from metabolic syndrome or fell into the high-risk category. The participants were divided into three groups. One group - the control group - received only a lifestyle consultation. The other two groups also received advice on changing their dietary habits. Their diet plan included 30 g of linseed a day (Group 2) or 30 g of walnuts a day (Group 3).
The group consuming the walnuts registered an average reduction of 16 % in their "central obesity". The term "central obesity" refers to the fat distributed in the stomach region, measured as the abdominal girth. The control group also registered a reduction in abdominal girth, but only by 6.3 %.
The study thus showed that the consumption of approximately 30 g of walnuts per day can reduce the risk factors for metabolic syndrome.
Wu H, et al. (2010): Lifestyle Counseling and Supplementation with Flaxseed or Walnuts Influence the Management of Metabolic Syndrome. The Journal of Nutrition, p. 1937-1942.