European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 925–947 | Cite as

Metabolic syndrome and dietary patterns: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

  • Míriam Rodríguez-MonforteEmail author
  • Emília Sánchez
  • Francisco Barrio
  • Bernardo Costa
  • Gemma Flores-Mateo



Lifestyle is linked to the risk of developing metabolic syndrome (MetS); however, its relationship with dietary patterns remains unclear. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to analyse the association of a posteriori dietary patterns with the metabolic syndrome.


The PubMed, CINAHL and Scopus databases were searched for epidemiological studies of dietary patterns and MetS. The association between dietary patterns and MetS was estimated using a random-effects meta-analysis with 95 % confidence intervals (CIs).


A total of 28 cross-sectional studies and three cohort studies were included in the meta-analysis. In a comparison of the highest to the lowest category of prudent/healthy dietary patterns, the pooled odds ratio (OR) for MetS was 0.83 (95 % CI 0.76, 0.90; P for heterogeneity =0.0; and I 2 = 72.1 %) in cross-sectional studies, and the pooled relative risk (RR) for MetS in cohort studies was 0.91 (95 % CI 0.68, 1.21; P for heterogeneity =0.005; I 2 = 81.1 %). The pooled OR for MetS in a comparison of the highest to the lowest category of Western dietary patterns was 1.28 (95 % CI 1.17, 1.40; P for heterogeneity =0.0; and I 2 = 72.0 %) in cross-sectional studies, and the RR was 0.96 (95 % CI 0.53, 1.73; P for heterogeneity =0.102; I 2 = 62.6 %) in cohort studies.


The results from cross-sectional studies showed that a prudent/healthy pattern is associated with a lower prevalence of MetS, whereas a Western/unhealthy is associated with an increased risk for MetS. Additional prospective studies are needed to confirm the association between dietary patterns and MetS.


Dietary patterns Metabolic syndrome Systematic review Meta-analysis 


Authors’ contributions

Míriam Rodríguez-Monforte and Gemma Flores-Mateo formulated the research question, designed the study and carried it out, and analysed the data. Míriam Rodríguez-Monforte and Emília Sánchez discussed the results. Míriam Rodríguez-Monforte, Gemma Flores-Mateo, Emília Sánchez, Francisco Barrio and Bernardo Costa wrote the paper. All authors contributed to the revision of the manuscript and read and approved the final version.


The preparation of the manuscript was supported by the IDIAP Jordi Gol Foundation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no relevant interests to declare.

Supplementary material

394_2016_1305_MOESM1_ESM.doc (144 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 144 kb)
394_2016_1305_MOESM2_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Míriam Rodríguez-Monforte
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emília Sánchez
    • 1
  • Francisco Barrio
    • 2
  • Bernardo Costa
    • 2
  • Gemma Flores-Mateo
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Blanquerna School of Health ScienceFacultat de Ciències de la Salut Blanquerna-Universitat Ramon LlullBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Unitat de Suport a la Recerca Tarragona-Reus, Grup d’Investigació en Prevenció de la DiabetisInstitut Universitari d’Investigació en Atenció Primària (IDIAP) Jordi GolTarragona, BarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.CIBERobn Physiopathology of Obesity and NutritionInstitute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII)MadridSpain

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