Topical Area: Medical Nutrition, Nutrition Translation
Objectives : The primary objective of this 12-week, randomized, controlled trial was to assess the efficacy of a Mediterranean diet (MD) intervention in reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in a high-risk population in the southeastern United States.
Methods : Adults (n=30) with a BMI of >24.9 and at least two additional CVD risk factors were randomized into one of two groups. The control group (n=14) received nutrition education on the recommendations of the American Heart Association (AHA). The intervention group (n=16) received education promoting patterns of a MD as well as dietary supplements of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) and mixed nuts. The primary outcome measure was change in systolic blood pressure from baseline to 6 and 12-weeks. Secondary outcome measures include changes in diastolic blood pressure; weight; BMI; fasted total cholesterol, HDLc, LDLc, TG, total cholesterol to HDLc ratio, blood glucose, and HOMA-IR. Nutrition knowledge and MD adherence were assessed at baseline, 6 and 12-weeks.
Results : The AHA group had decreases in HDLc, total cholesterol to HDLc ratio, and TG at baseline to 6-weeks, while the MD group had decreases in fat mass and BMR. The total population, experienced a decrease in weight, BMI, and TG from baseline to 6-weeks. At 12-weeks, decreases in weight, BMI, and percent body fat were seen in the entire population compared to baseline. The MD group experienced trends towards significance in the differences in measures from baseline to 12-weeks in systolic blood pressure, TG, and total cholesterol to HDLc ratio. Group assignment played a significant role from baseline to 6-weeks in systolic blood pressure, HDLc, and LDLc levels. Nutrition knowledge influenced blood glucose and total cholesterol levels. MD adherence impacted total cholesterol and non-HDLc levels. Percent nut consumption had a significant impact on HDLc levels, percent EVOO consumption significantly influenced LDLc values, and the nut/EVOO interaction was significant in both systolic pressure and HDLc levels.
Conclusions : Increases in nutrition knowledge, MD adherence, and percent nut and EVOO consumption were the most significant influences on measurement outcomes. Our results suggest that a MD can be implemented on a larger scale with potential positive impacts on CVD risk.
Funding Sources : Funding was provided by Mallon-Zallen Graduate Research Fellowship