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07-07-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Three-month dietary intervention significantly improves lipid levels


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MedWire News: A cardioprotective diet significantly reduces cardiovascular disease risk factors within 12 weeks, compared with a normal diet, suggest preliminary findings of the CRESSIDA study.

Study dietician Dianne Reidlinger (Kings College London, UK) explained that the dietary intervention achieved an approximate 10% reduction in participants' total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, without lowering their high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentrations.

"On a population basis, these lipid changes alone could decrease coronary heart disease (CHD) risk by between 10% and 30%," she said.

Over a 2-year period, principle investigator Tom Sanders (Kings College London, UK) and team recruited 34 men and women, aged 40-70 years, who were not using lipid or blood pressure lowering therapy and were free from diabetes, CHD, and stroke. Participants were randomly assigned to a 12-week dietary intervention or a control diet.

The target of the intervention was to decrease salt intake to less than 6 g per day, saturated fatty acids to less than 10% of overall energy per day, and to increase intake of wholegrains (>50% cereals), fruit and vegetables (to five portions per day), and fish (to two portions per week), compared with the control diet.

The control diet was modeled around an "average" UK diet, including a saturated fatty acid and total fat intake of approximately 13% and 35% of total energy, respectively.

Those assigned to the intervention diet were given dietary advice and support, and provided with foods to aid with compliance.

Presenting the preliminary findings of CRESSIDA (Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Study Supported by an Integrated Dietary Approach) at the HEART UK 25th Annual Conference in Warwick, UK, Reidlinger said that individuals who participated in the intervention (n=16) had significantly lower levels of apolipoprotein B (0.97 vs 1.17 g/l, respectively) and total and LDL cholesterol (4.87 vs 5.71 mmol/l [188.03 vs 220.46 mg/dl] and 2.82 vs 3.50 mmol/l [108.88 vs 135.14 mg/dl]) than those who received the control diet (n=18) after 12 weeks. There were no significant changes in HDL concentrations, however.

There was an 8% reduction in the proportion of energy derived from saturated fatty acids in the intervention diet group, compared with the control diet group, while intakes of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids increased by 3% and 2%, respectively. The intervention also resulted in a mean weight loss of 1.5 kg, while there was no significant weight reduction in the control diet group.

Reidlinger noted that the intervention was purely dietary, and the participants were given no advice on physical activity.

The team hopes to present the final study findings by the end of next year.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Nikki Withers