April 24, 2017
2 min read

Calorie restriction improves metabolic syndrome parameters in postmenopausal women with obesity

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Postmenopausal women with and without metabolic syndrome who completed a calorie-restriction intervention saw similar improvements in body composition, body fat distribution indices and cardiometabolic profile, despite no significant effects on disease status, according to findings published in Menopause.

Ahmed Ghachem, MSc, professor of physical activity sciences at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 73 postmenopausal women with obesity who classified themselves as inactive, who participated in a 6-month, calorie-restriction arm of the Montreal-Ottawa New Emerging Team study (mean age, 58 years; mean BMI, 32.4 kg/m²). Women in a study arm that combined calorie restriction with resistance training were excluded to avoid the effect of exercise on metabolic syndrome parameters. All women completed a 4-week weight stabilization period (within 2 kg of body weight) before participating, as well as a standard oral glucose tolerance test and a 3-hour euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. Researchers assessed lipid profile, blood pressure, body weight, height, BMI, waist circumference, fat mass and lean body mass via DXA, and abdominal visceral fat and subcutaneous fat via CT scan.

Within the cohort, 20 women had metabolic syndrome, defined by harmonized metabolic syndrome criteria. The number of women with one, two, three and four metabolic syndrome criteria were 37%, 31.5%, 19.2% and 8.2%, respectively.

After the intervention, 12 of the 20 women no longer had the condition, with the mean number of metabolic syndrome parameters falling from 3.1 to 2.17 (P < .001). Among those without metabolic syndrome at baseline, six of 53 (11.3%) developed the condition after the intervention, with no change in the overall number of metabolic syndrome parameters (mean, 1.36 to 1.3), according to the researchers.

After the 6-month intervention, researchers found that women with and without metabolic syndrome saw improvements in body composition and body fat distribution, with no between-group differences. At baseline, researchers observed no between-group differences in fasting glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol or BP, but women with metabolic syndrome had worse values for fasting insulin, glucose disposal, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, total cholesterol-to-HDL cholesterol ratio and triglycerides-to-HDL cholesterol ratio. Compared with women without metabolic syndrome, women with metabolic syndrome saw marked reductions in triglyceride levels from baseline to 6 months (mean, 2.34 mmol/L to 1.95 mmol/L vs. 1.46 mmol/L to 1.38 mmol/L; P = .0001) and in triglyceride-to-HDL cholesterol ratio (mean, 2 to 1.76 vs. 1.01 to 0.99; P = .001). Both groups showed similar responses for other cardiometabolic parameters, according to the researchers.

“These results seem to suggest that [calorie restriction] intervention may improve cardiometabolic profile in the majority of overweight or obese individuals, but some could see their metabolic status deteriorate, such as developing [metabolic syndrome], especially if they reduce their total daily energy expenditure,” the researchers wrote. “Thus, we may need to reconsider the general concept that body weight loss translates to a better cardiometabolic profile in all individuals and that everyone can benefit equally from dietary intervention. More studies are, however, needed to better understand interindividual response to weight loss.” – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.