British Journal of Nutrition

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Effects of a rapeseed oil-enriched hypoenergetic diet with a high content of α-linolenic acid on body weight and cardiovascular risk profile in patients with the metabolic syndrome

Andrea Baxheinricha1 c1, Bernd Stratmanna2, Young Hee Lee-Barkeya2, Diethelm Tschoepea2 and Ursel Wahrburga1

a1 Department of Nutritional Science, University of Applied Sciences, Corrensstrasse 25, 48149 Muenster, Germany

a2 Heart and Diabetes Center NRW, Ruhr University Bochum, Georgstrasse 11, 32545 Bad Oeynhausen, Germany


In therapy of the metabolic syndrome, the optimal dietary approach with regard to its macronutrient composition and metabolically favourable food components, such as the plant-derived n-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid (ALA), is still a matter of debate. We investigated the effects of a hypoenergetic diet with low energy density (ED) enriched in rapeseed oil, resulting in high MUFA content and an ALA intake of 3·5 g/d on body weight and cardiovascular risk profile in eighty-one patients with the metabolic syndrome in comparison with an olive oil diet rich in MUFA, but with a low ALA content. After a 6-month dietary intervention, body weight was significantly reduced in the rapeseed oil and olive oil groups ( − 7·8 v. − 6·0 kg; P < 0·05). There were significant decreases in systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, and insulin levels in both groups (P < 0·05). For all of these changes, no inter-group differences were observed. After the rapeseed oil diet, diastolic blood pressure declined more than after the olive oil diet (P < 0·05 for time × group interaction). Furthermore, concentrations of serum TAG were significantly reduced after the high ALA intake, but not in the low ALA group (P < 0·05 for time × group interaction). In conclusion, our dietary food pattern with a low ED and high intakes of MUFA and ALA may be a practical approach for long-term dietary treatment in patients with the metabolic syndrome, leading to weight reduction and an improvement in the overall cardiovascular risk profile.

(Received November 11 2011)

(Revised April 24 2012)

(Accepted April 25 2012)


c1 Corresponding author: A. Baxheinrich, fax +49 251 8365402, email


Abbreviations: ALA, α-linolenic acid; ED, energy density; En%, percentage of energy; OO, control diet with olive oil; RO, rapeseed oil-rich diet