The effect of the traditional mediterranean-style diet on metabolic risk factors: A meta-analysis

Marissa Garcia, Jessica D. Bihuniak, Julia Shook, Anne Kenny, Jane Kerstetter, Tania B. Huedo-Medina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Mediterranean-style diet (MedSD) has gained attention for its positive effects on health outcomes, including metabolic risk factors. However, it is unknown as to which components of MedSD interventions are most beneficial in reducing risk. The objective of this meta-analysis was to obtain effect sizes for metabolic risk factors and explain the variability across the current literature based on study design, sample, and diet characteristics. Six electronic databases were searched from inception until 9 February 2016. Data from 29 studies (N = 4133) were included. There were significant effects in favor of the MedSD for waist circumference, triglycerides, blood glucose, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure (d+ = ´0.54; d+ = ´0.46; d+ = ´0.50; d+ = ´0.72; d+ = ´0.94, respectively). The MedSD was significantly beneficial when the intervention was longer in duration, was conducted in Europe, used a behavioral technique, and was conducted using small groups. The traditional MedSD had significant beneficial effects on five of the six metabolic risk factors. Results from this study provide support for population specific dietary guideline for metabolic risk reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number168
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016


  • Mediterranean diet
  • Meta-analysis
  • Metabolic syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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