The menopausal transition (MT) is a period when there may be an increase in visceral fat mass and a worsening of cardiometabolic risk factors. Few studies have evaluated the efficacy of plant-based low-calorie diets on groups of women at different stages of MT. The purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness of a high plant-to-animal protein ratio diet in women of similar age but with different fertility statuses.
Subjects were divided into three groups according to their fertility status at the baseline: “premenopausal” (n = 11), “perimenopause” (n = 14) and “postmenopause” (n = 18). Body composition (BC) was measured at the beginning and after eight months of treatment. Individualised lifestyle treatment included a strong component of plant-based foods.
Forty-three overweight or obese Caucasian women (age 52.3 ± 4.5 years, body mass index 30.6 ± 5.4 kg/m2, fat mass 33.1 ± 9.3 kg data presented as means ± SD) were included in the study. Mean physical activity was 8.4 ± 7.6 metabolic equivalent of tasks/week. Subjects had an improvement in BC (fat mass −5.6 ± 4.0 kg, p < 0.001 protein −0.3 ± 0.5 kg, p < 0.001), HDL-C and systolic blood pressure values. Waist circumference and hip circumference decreased by 4.1 ± 3.1 cm and −6.0 ± 4.3 cm, respectively. Weight loss resulted in a significant improvement in some blood lipid values, such as total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Adherence to a high plant protein diet helps adult women with different fertility statuses to improve BC and reduce cardiovascular risk factors. Long-term studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm these findings.
In pre-peri- and post-menopausal adult women, a diet high in plant proteins improves body composition and reduces cardiovascular risk factors.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Data Availability Statement: The data used in this manuscript are publicly available from previous publications and fully disclosed in the Tables of the manuscript.
Author Contributions: Mauro Lombardo, Gianluca Rizzo and Alfonso Bellia performed the literature search, participated in the data collection and analyses and drafted the manuscript. Alessandra Feraco and Marco Alfonso Perrone helped in the final revision of the paper. Massimiliano Caprio, Chiara Bellia, Davide Lauro and Elvira Padua participated in the design of the study and drafted the manuscript. Mauro Lombardo was the principal investigator of the study, led its design, coordinated the steps of the data collection and data analyses and drafted the manuscript. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Institutional Review Board Statement: The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, and the protocol was approved by Institutional Research Board (School of Sports and Exercise Science, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, protocol number ITPro2016-0004). All participants could choose if they wanted to participate in the study and could at any time withdraw their consent.
Informed Consent Statement: Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.
Lombardo, M., Rizzo, G., Feraco, A., Perrone, M.A., Bellia, C., Lauro, D., Caprio, M., Bellia, A. and Padua, E. (2021), "High plant-based diet and physical activity in women during menopausal transition", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-06-2021-0195
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