The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a complex multifactorial disorder and its incidence is on the increase
worldwide. Due to the definitive link between obesity and the MetS weight loss strategies are of prime importance in halting
the spread of MetS. Numerous epidemiological studies provide evidence linking dietary patterns to incidence of MetS
symptoms. As a consequence of the epidemiology studies, dietary intervention studies which analyse the effects of supplementing
diets with particular nutrients of interest on the symptoms of the MetS have been conducted. Evidence has
shown that lifestyle intervention comprising changes in dietary intake and physical activity leads to an improved metabolic
profile both in the presence or absence of weight loss thus highlighting the importance of a multi-faceted approach
in combating MetS. Nutritional therapy research is not focused solely on reducing energy intake and manipulating macronutrient
intake but is investigating the role of functional foods or bioactive components of food. Such bioactives which
target weight maintenance and /or insulin sensitivity may have a potentially positive effect on the symptoms of the MetS.
However the efficacy of different functional nutrients needs to be further defined and clearly demonstrated.
Keywords: Diets, fatty acids, functional foods, glycaemic index, metabolic syndrome, nutrition.
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