Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124,086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years

Monica L. Bertoia (Lead Author), Eric B. Rimm, Kenneth J. Mukamal, Frank B. Hu, Walter C. Willett, Aedín Cassidy

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144 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: To examine whether dietary intake of specific flavonoid sub-classes is associated with weight change over time, including flavonols, flavones, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins, and flavonoid polymers.
Design: Three prospective cohort studies.
Setting: Health professionals in the United States.
Participants: 124,086 men and women participating in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS), Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), and Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II).
Main outcome measure: Self-reported change in weight over multiple 4-year time intervals between 1986 and 2011.
Results: Increased consumption of most flavonoid sub-classes, including flavonols, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins, and flavonoid polymers was inversely associated with weight change over 4-year time intervals, after adjustment for simultaneous changes in other lifestyle factors including other aspects of diet, smoking status, and physical activity. In the pooled results, the greatest magnitude of association was observed for anthocyanins (-0.22 lbs, 95% CI -0.30 to -0.15 lbs per additional SD/day, 10 mg), flavonoid polymers (-0.18 lbs, 95% CI -0.28 to -0.08 lbs per additional SD/day, 138 mg), and flavonols (-0.16 lbs, 95% CI -0.26 to -0.06 lbs per additional SD/day, 7 mg). After additional adjustment for fiber intake associations remained significant for anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and total flavonoid polymers but were attenuated and no longer statistically significant for other sub-classes.
Conclusions: Higher intake of foods rich in flavonols, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins, and flavonoid polymers, may contribute to weight maintenance in adulthood, and may help to refine dietary recommendations for the prevention of obesity and its potential sequelae.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberi17
JournalBMJ-British Medical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2016


  • flavonoids
  • body weight
  • obesity
  • weight loss
  • weight gain

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