23 November 2020 In Phenolic compounds

OBJECTIVES: Habitual diet plays a major role in shaping the composition of the gut microbiota, and also determines the repertoire of microbial metabolites that can influence the host. The typical Western diet corresponds to that of an omnivore; however, the Mediterranean diet (MD), common in the Western Mediterranean culture, is to date a nutritionally recommended dietary pattern that includes high-level consumption of cereals, fruit, vegetables and legumes. To investigate the potential benefits of the MD in this cross-sectional survey, we assessed the gut microbiota and metabolome in a cohort of Italian individuals in relation to their habitual diets.

DESIGN AND RESULTS: We retrieved daily dietary information and assessed gut microbiota and metabolome in 153 individuals habitually following omnivore, vegetarian or vegan diets. The majority of vegan and vegetarian subjects and 30% of omnivore subjects had a high adherence to the MD. We were able to stratify individuals according to both diet type and adherence to the MD on the basis of their dietary patterns and associated microbiota. We detected significant associations between consumption of vegetable-based diets and increased levels of faecal short-chain fatty acids, Prevotella and some fibre-degrading Firmicutes, whose role in human gut warrants further research. Conversely, we detected higher urinary trimethylamine oxide levels in individuals with lower adherence to the MD.

CONCLUSIONS: High-level consumption of plant foodstuffs consistent with an MD is associated with beneficial microbiome-related metabolomic profiles in subjects ostensibly consuming a Western diet.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: This study was registered at clinical trials.gov as NCT02118857.

25 August 2020 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Epidemiologic evidence suggests that certain dietary patterns were associated with breast cancer risk, but the results have been inconclusive. We assessed the associations between different dietary patterns and the risk of breast cancer by conducting a meta-analysis of observational studies.

METHODS: Relevant articles were searched in PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane library databases through September 2017. Multivariable-adjusted relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) comparing the highest and lowest categories of Western and prudent dietary patterns were combined by using the random-effects meta-analyses.

RESULTS: We identified 32 eligible articles including 14 cohort and 18 case-control studies (34 Western and 35 prudent studies). The pooled analyses found that a Western dietary pattern was associated with a 14% increased risk (RR 1.14, 95% CI 1.02, 1.28), whereas a prudent dietary pattern was associated with an 18% reduced risk of breast cancer (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.75, 0.89). In addition, sub-group analyses showed that the positive association between a Western dietary pattern and breast cancer risk was significant among postmenopausal (RR 1.20, 95% CI 1.06, 1.35), but not premenopausal women (RR 1.18, 95% CI 0.99, 1.40), and significant for hormone receptor-positive tumors (RR 1.18, 95% CI 1.04, 1.33), but not receptor-negative tumors (RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.83, 1.12). In contrast, the inverse association between a prudent dietary pattern and breast cancer was significant in premenopausal (RR 0.77, 95% CI 0.61, 0.98), but not postmenopausal women (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.74, 1.03), and significant for both hormone receptor-positive and receptor-negative tumors.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the current meta-analysis suggest a possible increased risk of breast cancer associated with a Western dietary pattern and a reduced risk with a prudent dietary pattern. Large-scale cohort studies with a high quality need to be conducted to further confirm the findings of the current meta-analysis. As dietary patterns are modifiable, these findings may provide viable strategies for breast cancer prevention through changes in dietary intake.

24 June 2019 In General Health

In this article, we critically evaluate the evidence relating to the effects of the Mediterranean diet (MD) on the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Strong evidence indicating that the MD prevents CVD has come from prospective cohort studies. However, there is only weak supporting evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) as none have compared subjects who follow an MD and those who do not. Instead, RCTs have tested the effect of 1 or 2 features of the MD. This was the case in the Prevenciomicronn con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED) study: the major dietary change in the intervention groups was the addition of either extravirgin olive oil or nuts. Meta-analyses generally suggest that the MD causes small favorable changes in risk factors for CVD, including blood pressure, blood glucose, and waist circumference. However, the effect on blood lipids is generally weak. The MD may also decrease several biomarkers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein. The 7 key features of the MD can be divided into 2 groups. Some are clearly protective against CVD (olive oil as the main fat; high in legumes; high in fruits/vegetables/nuts; and low in meat/meat products and increased in fish). However, other features of the MD have a less clear relationship with CVD (low/moderate alcohol use, especially red wine; high in grains/cereals; and low/moderate in milk/dairy). In conclusion, the evidence indicates that the MD prevents CVD. There is a need for RCTs that test the effectiveness of the MD for preventing CVD. Key design features for such a study are proposed.

Contact us

We love your feedback. Get in touch with us.

  • Tel: +32 (0)2 230 99 70
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer and Privacy Policy.