Association between organic food consumption and metabolic syndrome: cross-sectional results from the NutriNet-Santé study

Abstract

Purpose

Metabolic syndrome (MetS), a multicomponent condition, is a cardiovascular disease predictor. Although exposure to agricultural pesticides has been suggested as a potential contributor to the rising rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other features of metabolic disorders, no studies have focused on the association between consumption of organic food (produced without synthetic pesticides) and MetS. We aimed to investigate the cross-sectional association between organic food consumption and MetS in French adults to determine whether it would be worth conducting further studies, particularly large prospective and randomised trials.

Methods

A total of 8174 participants from the NutriNet-Santé study who attended a clinical visit and completed an organic food frequency questionnaire were included in this cross-sectional analysis. We evaluated the association between the proportion of organic food in the diet (overall and by food group) and MetS using Poisson regression models while adjusting for potential confounders.

Results

Higher organic food consumption was negatively associated with the prevalence of MetS: adjusted prevalence ratio was 0.69 (95% CI 0.61, 0.78) when comparing the third tertile of proportion of organic food in the diet with the first one (p value <0.0001). Higher consumption of organic plant-based foods was also related to a lower probability of having MetS. In addition, when stratifying by lifestyle factors (nutritional quality of the diet, smoking status, and physical activity), a significant negative association was detected in each subgroup (p values <0.05), except among smokers.

Conclusions

Our results showed that a higher organic food consumption was associated with a lower probability of having MetS. Additional prospective studies and randomised trials are required to ascertain the relationship between organic food consumption and metabolic disorders.

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Fig. 1

Abbreviations

BMI:

Body mass index

CI:

Confidence intervals

CNIL:

National commission on informatics and liberty

DBP:

Diastolic blood pressure

EFSA:

European food safety authority

ENNS:

French National Nutrition and Health Survey

HDL:

High-density protein

IRB:

Institutional Review Board of the French Institute for Health and Medical Research

INSEE:

French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies

IPAQ:

International Physical Activity Questionnaire

LDL:

Low-density protein

MetS:

Metabolic syndrome

mPNNS-GS:

Modified Programme National Nutrition Guideline Score

Org-FFQ:

Organic Food Frequency Questionnaire

POP:

Persistent organic pollutants

PUFA:

Polyunsaturated fatty acids

PR:

Prevalence ratios

SBP:

Systolic blood pressure

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Acknowledgements

We thank all the people who helped carry out the NutriNet-Santé study and all dedicated and conscientious volunteers. We especially thank Younes Esseddik, Paul Flanzy, Nathalie Arnault, Fabien Szabo, Laurent Bourhis, and Cédric Agaesse.

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Contributions

SH, PG, DL, and EKG conceived and designed research; JB performed the statistical analysis and wrote the article; JB, HL, SA, CJ, BA, SH, MT, DL, PG, and EKG were involved in revising the work critically for important intellectual content; and JB had primary responsibility for final content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Julia Baudry.

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Conflict of interest

None of the authors declares any conflicts of interest.

Funding

The BioNutriNet project was supported by the French National Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) in the context of the 2013 Programme de Recherche Systèmes Alimentaires Durables (ANR-13-ALID-0001). The NutriNet-Santé cohort study is funded by the following public institutions: Ministère de la Santé, Santé Publique France, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM), and Paris 13 University. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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Baudry, J., Lelong, H., Adriouch, S. et al. Association between organic food consumption and metabolic syndrome: cross-sectional results from the NutriNet-Santé study. Eur J Nutr 57, 2477–2488 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-017-1520-1

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Keywords

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Metabolic traits
  • Organic food consumption
  • Dietary pattern