Does a Mediterranean Diet Have an Inverse Association With CVD?
The PREDIMED trial previously demonstrated that a Mediterranean diet could reduce incidences of cardiovascular disease by 30 percent compared to a control diet. A research letter published Aug. 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine found that the trial’s baseline adherence to the Mediterranean diet’s 14-point screening score shows an inverse association with cardiovascular disease, independent of lifestyle and classical risk factors.
The PREDIMED trial was a large, randomized trial testing the effect of two Mediterranean diets (supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts) compared with a control diet (advice on a low-fat diet) on incident cardiovascular disease in individuals at high risk for but no cardiovascular disease diagnosed at enrollment. Participants included 7,447 men and women with a mean age of 67 years that had either diabetes mellitus or three or more cardiovascular risk factors.
The analysis, spearheaded by Helmut Schröder, PhD, Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group, Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain, looked a median follow-up of 4.8 years with a total of 31,979 person-years, and showed that 288 participants sustained cardiovascular disease events (139 strokes, 106 myocardial infarctions, and 87 cardiovascular deaths). A two-point increase in unweighted and weighted scores showed a 21 percent and 25 percent reductions in cardiovascular disease events, respectively. The analysis also showed that associations between Mediterranean diet scores and cardiovascular disease were weaker in women and in the control group, but were strengthened by using weighted scores. Amidst individual score components only an increased consumption of nuts and vegetables were related to reduced cardiovascular disease events.
The authors note that the findings of this new analysis only further document the beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease, supporting the 14-item Mediterranean diet screener as a useful, simple tool to identify and educate individuals who would benefit most from dietary intervention and its ability to reduce future cardiovascular disease risk.
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