Effect of whole foods and dietary patterns on markers of subclinical inflammation in weight-stable overweight and obese adults: a systematic review

Stephanie F. Cowan, Emily R. Leeming, Aimee Dordevic, Andrew James Sinclair, Helen Truby, Simone Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


CONTEXT: Reduction of subclinical inflammation is a potential target for chronic disease management. Adiposity is a known modifier of meta-inflammation; however, the influence of dietary factors is less clear. OBJECTIVE: This review examines evidence from human trials evaluating effects of whole foods or dietary patterns on circulating inflammatory markers in weight-stable overweight and obese adults. It is the first review to investigate effects of diet on inflammation, independent of changes in adiposity. DATA SOURCES: The Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Cochrane databases were searched. DATA EXTRACTION: Data extraction was conducted using the Cochrane Collaboration Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. DATA ANALYSIS: Study quality was evaluated using the Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias Assessment tool. Thirty-three studies were included assessing effects of 17 foods and dietary patterns on 39 inflammatory markers. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, foods and dietary patterns were not found to have significant effects on inflammatory markers in weight-stable individuals. Inconsistencies among studies were largely due to methodological limitations. Future research should invest in longer intervention periods and standardization of inflammatory marker panels paired with novel technologies, while ensuring anthropometric measures are monitored and adequately controls are used. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: Prospero registration number CRD42017067765.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-38
Number of pages20
JournalNutrition Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • dairy
  • diet
  • fruits and vegetables
  • inflammation
  • obesity
  • soy

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