Dietary advice for reducing cardiovascular risk

University College London Medical School, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, UK, WC1E 6BT.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 5.94). 02/2007; DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002128.pub3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Changes in population diet are likely to reduce cardiovascular disease and cancer, but the effect of dietary advice is uncertain.
To assess the effects of providing dietary advice to achieve sustained dietary changes or improved cardiovascular risk profile among healthy adults.
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, DARE and HTA databases on The Cochrane Library (Issue 4 2006), MEDLINE (1966 to December 2000, 2004 to November 2006) and EMBASE (1985 to December 2000, 2005 to November 2006). Additional searches were done on CAB Health (1972 to December 1999), CVRCT registry (2000), CCT (2000) and SIGLE (1980 to 2000). Dissertation abstracts and reference lists of articles were checked and researchers were contacted.
Randomised studies with no more than 20% loss to follow-up, lasting at least 3 months involving healthy adults comparing dietary advice with no advice or minimal advice. Trials involving children, trials to reduce weight or those involving supplementation were excluded.
Two reviewers independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Study authors were contacted for additional information.
Thirty-eight trials with 46 intervention arms (comparisons) comparing dietary advice with no advice were included in the review. 17,871 participants/clusters were randomised. Twenty-six of the 38 included trials were conducted in the USA. Dietary advice reduced total serum cholesterol by 0.16 mmol/L (95% CI 0.06 to 0.25) and LDL cholesterol by 0.18 mmol/L (95% CI 0.1 to 0.27) after 3-24 months. Mean HDL cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels were unchanged. Dietary advice reduced blood pressure by 2.07 mmHg systolic (95% CI 0.95 to 3.19) and 1.15 mmHg diastolic (95% CI 0.48 to 1.85) and 24-hour urinary sodium excretion by 44.2 mmol (95% CI 33.6 to 54.7) after 3-36 months. Three trials reported plasma antioxidants where small increases were seen in lutein and beta-cryptoxanthin, but there was heterogeneity in the trial effects. Self-reported dietary intake may be subject to reporting bias, and there was significant heterogeneity in all the following analyses. Compared to no advice, dietary advice increased fruit and vegetable intake by 1.25 servings/day (95% CI 0.7 to 1.81). Dietary fibre intake increased with advice by 5.99 g/day (95% CI 1.12 to 10.86), while total dietary fat as a percentage of total energy intake fell by 4.49 % (95% CI 2.31 to 6.66) with dietary advice and saturated fat intake fell by 2.36 % (95% CI 1.32 to 3.39).
Dietary advice appears to be effective in bringing about modest beneficial changes in diet and cardiovascular risk factors over approximately 10 months but longer term effects are not known.

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