(HealthDay News) — Mediterranean and low-fat dietary programs seem beneficial for reducing mortality and morbidity among patients with elevated cardiovascular risk, according to a review published online March 29 in The BMJ.
Giorgio Karam, from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to determine the relative efficacy of structured named diet and health behavior programs for prevention of mortality and major cardiovascular events in patients with elevated cardiovascular disease risk. Data were included from 40 trials with 35,548 participants in seven named dietary programs (low fat, Mediterranean, very low fat, modified fat, combined low fat and low sodium, Ornish, and Pritikin).
The researchers found that at last reported follow-up, Mediterranean dietary programs proved superior to minimal intervention for prevention of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, stroke and nonfatal myocardial infarction (odds ratios, 0.72, 0.55, 0.65, and 0.48, respectively) based on moderate-certainty evidence. In addition, low-fat programs proved superior to minimal intervention for prevention of all-cause mortality and nonfatal myocardial infarction (odds ratios, 0.84 and 0.77, respectively) based on moderate-certainty evidence. For both dietary programs, the absolute effects were more pronounced for high-risk patients. For mortality and nonfatal myocardial infarction, there were no convincing differences seen between Mediterranean and low-fat programs. Little or no benefit was seen for the remaining five dietary programs versus minimal intervention.
“These findings with data presentations are extremely important for patients who are skeptical about the desirability of diet change,” the authors write.