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Mediterranean diet ‘reduces CV events’ in high risk patients

The study

Some 7,447 men and women at high risk of cardiovascular disease were randomised to receive either a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts or a control low-fat diet. Patients were followed for six years, with each group receiving personalised advice at quarterly dietary training sessions.

The findings

Compared with patients on the control diet, those on either one of the Mediterranean diets were 30% less likely to suffer an heart attack, stroke or die from cardiovascular causes. Events on the Mediterranean diet with nuts were eight per 1,000 person years, marginally fewer compared with the other two diets.

What does it mean for GPs?

The Spanish authors feel the results ‘support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular risk reduction,’ noting that they are ‘particularly relevant given the challenges of achieving and maintaining weight loss.’

NEJM 2013, online 25 February