A multifunctional diet improves cardiometabolic-related biomarkers independently of weight changes: an 8-week randomized controlled intervention in healthy overweight and obese subjects



A multifunctional diet (MFD) was previously shown to reduce blood lipids, CRP and blood pressure in a 4-week intervention under weight-maintenance conditions. Here, MFD effects were evaluated in an 8-week intervention with no restriction for weight changes.


Healthy subjects consumed MFD (23 subjects) or a control diet (CD) devoid of the functional components (24 subjects) in a “free-living” randomized controlled experiment. MFD included several functional concepts: low-glycemic-impact meals, antioxidant-rich foods, oily fish, viscous dietary fibers, soybean and whole barley kernel products, almonds and plant stanols. Measured outcomes were fasting blood values of lipids, glucose, insulin, GGT, CRP, HbA1c, PAI-1, GLP-1, GLP-2, body weight, blood pressure and breath hydrogen.


At baseline, participants were 51–72 years old, with BMI between 25 and 34 and fasting glycemia  ≤ 6.1 mmol/L. Consumption of both diets resulted in similar weight loss after 8 weeks (−4 %; P  <  0.001). Compared to baseline, consumption of MFD reduced total serum cholesterol (−26 %; P  <  0.0001), LDL cholesterol (−35 %; P  <  0.0001), triglycerides (−16 %; P  < 0.05), LDL/HDL (−27 %; P  <  0.0001) and ApoB/ApoA1 (−15 %; P  <  0.0001). There were important net differences between diets, which remained significant after adjustment for body weight. Reduced systolic blood pressure, circulating GGT, HbA1c and insulin concentrations were observed with both MFD and CD with no difference between diets. The Reynolds cardiovascular risk score was decreased by 36 % (P  <  0.0001) with MFD. MFD increased breath hydrogen levels (120 %; P  <  0.05).


Consumption of MFD decreased blood lipids and improved several other aspects of the cardiometabolic risk profile. This effect was not dependent on weight loss.

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This study was funded by the Lund University Antidiabetic Food Center-AFC, a VINNOVA VINN Excellence Center (I. Björck, J. Tovar). The authors thank Dr. Håkan Lövqvist (Fo-U Centrum Skåne, Lund) for assistance with statistical analyses and M.Sc. Elisa Yaquian for skillful support during the development of the intervention and preparation of databases. Professional support from Margareta Bensow Bacos (dietitian) and Ulla Johansson (nutritionist) is also acknowledged. The following companies contributed with different food items and services: Raisio Nutrition Ltd, Kavli AB, Röstånga Mölla AB, Prorsum Healthcare AB, Santa Maria AB, Orkla ASA, Oy Karl Fazer, Lantmännen ek för, Oatly AB and Region Skåne.

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Correspondence to Juscelino Tovar.

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Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects prior to their enrollment in the study. The study was approved by the Regional Ethical Review Board, Lund, Sweden (Dnr 2013/584), and was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. Trial registration: Clinical Trials.gov NCT02148653.

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Tovar, J., Johansson, M. & Björck, I. A multifunctional diet improves cardiometabolic-related biomarkers independently of weight changes: an 8-week randomized controlled intervention in healthy overweight and obese subjects. Eur J Nutr 55, 2295–2306 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-015-1039-2

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  • Cardiometabolic diseases
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Dietary prevention
  • Functional foods
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Randomized controlled trial