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Diet & Health : Heart & Blood Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Low fat diet cuts cardiovascular risk
By Ben Wasserman
Nov 9, 2008 - 10:14:15 AM

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Sunday November 9, 2008 ( -- Survivors from first heart attack might want to consider using a low fat or Mediterranean diet and both drastically reduce future cardiovascular events, according to a new study.


Use of a low fat or Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality by about 70 percent in patients who experienced first heart attack, the study found.


The study was conducted led by Tuttle K R and colleagues from The Heart Institute of Spokane in Spokane, Washington and published in the June 2008 issue of American Journal of Cardiology.


The researchers meant to examine whether a Mediterranean style diet reduces cardiovascular events and mortality in patients with first myocardial infarction (MI) or heart attack more effectively than a low fat diet.


For the study, they randomly assigned 50 patients a low fat diet and another 50 a Mediterranean-style diets.  A group of 101 patients matched for age, gender, MI type and treatment and status of diabetes mellitus and hypertension received usual care without dietary intervention.


Both diets were low in saturated fat (equal or less than 7% kcal) and cholesterol (equal or less than 200 mg per day), but the Mediterranean-style diet was high in omega-3 fat (>0.75% kcal).


All participants received individual dietary counseling sessions, 2 in the first month and again at 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months in addition to 6 group sessions.


The outcomes considered in the study included events including all-cause and cardiac deaths, MI, hospital admissions for heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, or stroke.


The researchers found both diets rendered similar protection and with the low fat diet, 42 of 50 were free of events compared to 43 of 51 who used the Mediterranean diet for a mean follow-up period of 46 months.


In comparison, 85 of 101 patients on the low fat diet and Mediterranean diet were free of events compared to 61 of 101 who didn't receive dietary intervention. Those who did not receive dietary intervention were 70 percent more likely to suffer an event.


The researchers concluded that "active intervention with either a low-fat or a Mediterranean-style diet similarly and significantly benefits overall and cardiovascular-event-free survival after MI (heart attack)."



Am J Cardiol. 2008 Jun 1;101(11):1523-30.

Comparison of low-fat versus Mediterranean-style dietary intervention after first myocardial infarction (from The Heart Institute of Spokane Diet Intervention and Evaluation Trial).

Tuttle KR, Shuler LA, Packard DP, Milton JE, Daratha KB, Bibus DM, Short RA.

The Heart Institute of Spokane, Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, Washington, USA. [email protected]

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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