Modest improvement in CVD risk markers in older adults following quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) consumption: a randomized-controlled crossover study with a novel food product



To investigate the effect of consuming quinoa biscuits on markers of CVD risk over 4 weeks in free-living older adults.


A randomized-controlled, double-blind crossover trial was conducted in which consenting healthy adults aged 50–75 years (n = 40) consumed 15 g quinoa biscuits (60 g quinoa flour/100 g) or control iso–energetic biscuits (made using wheat flour) daily for 28 consecutive days (4 weeks), in addition to their normal diet. Following a 6-week washout, participants consumed the alternate biscuit for a final 4 weeks. Anthropometry and fasted blood samples were obtained before and after each intervention period.


At the beginning of the trial, mean ± SD total cholesterol concentrations were 6.02 ± 1.22 mmol/L (3.7–9.2 mmol/L); 33 participants (82.5%) had high cholesterol (> 5 mmol/L). No participants were lost to follow-up and there were no changes in habitual dietary intakes or levels of physical activity between each 4-week intervention period. Significantly greater decreases in total and LDL cholesterol concentrations (− 0.30 ± 0.58 and − 0.25 ± 0.38 mmol/L, respectively), TC: HDL ratio (− 0.11 ± 0.30), weight (− 0.61 ± 0.89 kg) and BMI (− 0.22 ± 0.34 kg/m2) were apparent following consumption of the quinoa versus control biscuits (all P < 0.05). Changes in triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, or PUFA or CRP concentrations were not significant between treatment groups.


Consumption of novel quinoa biscuits produced small, but favorable changes in body weight, BMI, and circulating cholesterol concentrations, all of which may contribute to lowered CVD risk in older adults.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



Arachidonic acid


α-Linolenic acid


Body mass index


Blood pressure


C-reactive protein


Cardiovascular disease


Docosahexaenoic acid


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Ferric reducing ability of plasma


High density lipoprotein


Linoleic acid


Low density lipoprotein


Metabolic equivalents


Physical activity


Physical activity energy expenditure


Polyunsaturated fatty acid


Saturated fatty acid


Total cholesterol


Unsaturated fatty acid


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The authors’ responsibilities were as follows—EC, AO, NGT, and CIRG contributed to study conception and designed research; LKP, EC, BWH and CIRG conducted research and/or laboratory analysis; LKP analyzed data; EC and AO provided essential materials for research; LKP, EC and NGT wrote the paper; CIRG had primary responsibility for final content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. We acknowledge Dr Ruth Price for randomization of the study biscuits, Mr Neil Dennison for his help with laboratory analysis, Mr Dermot Liddy for help with data entry, and all participants for taking part in the study.


This project was funded by the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, CONICYT) Chile/UK (ref: R15F10005).

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Correspondence to Chris I. R. Gill.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was conducted with the prior approval of the Ulster University Research Ethics Committee (REC/16/0106) and with the informed consent of participants. The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and the trial was registered at (NCT03291548).

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Pourshahidi, L.K., Caballero, E., Osses, A. et al. Modest improvement in CVD risk markers in older adults following quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) consumption: a randomized-controlled crossover study with a novel food product. Eur J Nutr 59, 3313–3323 (2020).

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  • Quinoa
  • Cholesterol
  • PUFA
  • Fatty acids
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Cardiovascular disease