Effect of soy on metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk factors: a randomized controlled trial

Massimiliano Ruscica, Chiara Pavanello, Sara Gandini, Monica Gomaraschi, Cecilia Vitali, Chiara Macchi, Beatrice Morlotti, Gilda Aiello, Raffaella Bosisio, Laura Calabresi, Anna Arnoldi, Cesare R Sirtori, Paolo Magni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular diseases are currently the commonest cause of death worldwide. Different strategies for their primary prevention have been planned, taking into account the main known risk factors, which include an atherogenic lipid profile and visceral fat excess.

METHODS: The study was designed as a randomized, parallel, single-center study with a nutritional intervention duration of 12 weeks. Whole soy foods corresponding to 30 g/day soy protein were given in substitution of animal foods containing the same protein amount.

RESULTS: Soy nutritional intervention resulted in a reduction in the number of MetS features in 13/26 subjects. Moreover, in the soy group we observed a significant improvement of median percentage changes for body weight (-1.5 %) and BMI (-1.5 %), as well as for atherogenic lipid markers, namely TC (-4.85 %), LDL-C (-5.25 %), non-HDL-C (-7.14 %) and apoB (-14.8 %). Since the majority of the studied variables were strongly correlated, three factors were identified which explained the majority (52 %) of the total variance in the whole data set. Among them, factor 1, which loaded lipid and adipose variables, explained the 22 % of total variance, showing a statistically significant difference between treatment arms (p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: The inclusion of whole soy foods (corresponding to 30 g/day protein) in a lipid-lowering diet significantly improved a relevant set of biomarkers associated with cardiovascular risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-511
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Adiposity
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers/blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology
  • Cholesterol/blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL/blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Dyslipidemias/blood
  • Female
  • Functional Food
  • Humans
  • Italy/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome/epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight/blood
  • Risk Factors
  • Soy Foods
  • Waist Circumference
  • Weight Loss


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