The metabolic syndrome (MetS) comprises pathological conditions that include insulin resistance, arterial hypertension, visceral adiposity and dyslipidaemia, which favour the development of CVD. Some reports have shown that cranberry ingestion reduces cardiovascular risk factors. However, few studies have evaluated the effect of this fruit in subjects with the MetS. The objective of the present study was to assess the effect of reduced-energy cranberry juice consumption on metabolic and inflammatory biomarkers in patients with the MetS, and to verify the effects of cranberry juice concomitantly on homocysteine and adiponectin levels in patients with the MetS. For this purpose, fifty-six individuals with the MetS were selected and divided into two groups: control group (n 36) and cranberry-treated group (n 20). After consuming reduced-energy cranberry juice (0·7 litres/d) containing 0·4 mg folic acid for 60 d, the cranberry-treated group showed an increase in adiponectin (P= 0·010) and folic acid (P= 0·033) and a decrease in homocysteine (P< 0·001) in relation to baseline values and also in comparison with the controls (P< 0·05). There was no significant change in the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1 and IL-6. In relation to oxidative stress measurements, decreased (P< 0·05) lipoperoxidation and protein oxidation levels assessed by advanced oxidation protein products were found in the cranberry-treated group when compared with the control group. In conclusion, the consumption of cranberry juice for 60 d was able to improve some cardiovascular risk factors. The present data reinforce the importance of the inverse association between homocysteine and adiponectin and the need for more specifically designed studies on MetS patients.