Flavonoid-rich diet affects positively the body composition of women

Flavonoids are a diverse range of polyphenolic compounds that are present in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, chocolate and wine. In this study, dietary flavonoids were divided into six subclasses, and their effects on the body composition of women were investigated.  

The flavonoid subclasses were: 

  1.  flavanones
  2. anthocyanins
  3. flavan 3 ols (and monomeric proanthocyanidins)
  4. flavonols
  5. flavones
  6. polymeric proanthocyanidins

The body composition (fat mass) was measured with the use of DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry). In addition to the percentage of fat mass and the percentage of central fat mass, the following three derivative values were calculated from the measurements:

  1. FMI (fat mass index), fat mass (kg) divided by height (m2)
  2. CFMI (central fat mass index), trunk fat mass (kg) divided by height (m2)
  3. FMR (fat mass ratio), trunk fat mass (kg) divided by limb fat (kg)

Discussion of the study concentrated on the effect of flavonoid-rich diet on FMR. Lower values of FMR are typical of peripheral fat distribution rather than of central fat distribution. 

The subject group of the study consisted of monozygotic, female twins (total 2734 pairs), aged 18 to 83. The use of monozygotic twin model in the study made the results independent of the genetic factors. Information on environmental factors such as medication use, smoking, physical activity and menopausal status was collected and included as background variables in the analysis. 

According to the most important results of the study, twins who consumed in their daily diet more flava 3 ols (308 mg), flavonols (34.8 mg) and proanthocyanidins (198 mg), as well as under 50 years old who consumed daily two portion anthocyanidins (corresponds to 200 g berries), had significantly lower FMR value than that of their co-twins. The association between the FMR and flavonoid subclass intake was even greater than for physical activity and intakes of energy and sugar-sweetened beverages. Moreover, the association between the FMR and flavonoids was independent of total fruit and vegetables intake, as well as fiber intake.       

The associations between the FMR value (and lower central fat distribution) and flavonoids were shown with dietary achievable intakes of flavonoids, which makes them relevant for public health recommendations to reduce body fat.   

In summary, flavonoid-rich food, especially the consumption of anthocyanidins, flava 3 ols and flavonols and in daily diet, may have a protective role on the distribution of fat mass independent of shared genetic and common environmental factors.    

Source: Jennings, A., MacGregor, A., Spector, T. & Cassidy, A. (2017). Higher dietary flavonoid intakes are associated with lower objectively measured body composition in women: evidence from discordant monozygotic twins. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

kaksoistutkimus  ruokavalio  rasvan jakautuminen  flavonoidit  kehon koostumus  fat distribution  diet  body composition  flavonoids  twins