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The Lyon Diet Heart Study: dietary implications
This study has shown that a
Mediterranean-type diet reduces the risk of a second heart attack. How
has it affected your diet?
By John Russo Jr./Vicus.com
VICUS.COM (1 Aug. 2000) --
Once again, the French lead the way in good eating. This time it's not
just good for your palate; it's good for your heart as well.
A year ago, the Lyon Diet Heart Study reported that a
Mediterranean-type diet reduced the risk of a second heart attack in
people who had a previous myocardial infarction (De Lorgeril, et
al., Feb 1999).
Mediterranean diet is easy to follow, and it tastes good! Here
are six steps to a healthy Mediterranean diet:
Eat fish and lean poultry a few times each week.
with olive oil or canola oil.
eating in a restaurant that does not cook with olive oil, ask
for as little oil as possible and put all dressings and sauces
"on the side." This way you can control how much oil
lots of fruits, vegetables, beans and other plant foods.
consumption of red meat and saturated fat intake.
When you have a choice between red meat, pork or fish, choose
fish, preferably grilled.
alcoholic beverages in moderation (not more than two drinks
per day for men and one drink per day for women).
you have not yet incorporated Mediterranean cuisine into your diet,
now is the time to start. Here are the results that left this
change in your diet and some recommendations for a successful change
to healthier eating.
Approximately half of 600 men and women
included in the French study who had had a first heart attack were
advised to eat a Mediterranean-style diet that was rich in fruits,
vegetables, fish, cereals and beans. The Mediterranean diet included
more oleic and alpha-linolenic fatty acids, which are the omega-3
fatty acids found in canola, olive and certain nut oils.
in the study who followed the "Western diet" consumed more
linoleic or omega-6 fatty acids found in soy and sunflower oils.
Otherwise, the groups were very similar:
30% of calories in the Mediterranean diet came from fat, 8% from saturated
fat. The Western diet obtained 34% of total calories from fat
and almost 12% from saturated fat. The intake of dietary fiber was
higher in the Mediterranean group, about 3 grams, indicating a higher
intake of antioxidants and B vitamins found in fruits and vegetables.
investigators assessed the effect of these diets on three outcomes:
cardiac death and nonfatal myocardial infarction; this first outcome
in addition to major secondary end points (unstable angina, stroke,
heart failure, pulmonary or peripheral embolism); and these first two
outcomes plus minor events requiring hospital admission.
36 months, the participants in the study were similar in body fat,
blood pressure and in the number of smokers in each group. However,
those who followed the Mediterranean diet had statistically
significant reductions in each of the outcomes studied -- lower
prevalence of cardiac death and nonfatal myocardial infarction, fewer
major secondary events such as stroke and pulmonary embolism, and
Interestingly, the Mediterranean diet did
not appear to alter the relationships between major risk factors
(e.g., total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure) and
protective factors (e.g., female sex and aspirin use) vs. recurrence
of myocardial infarction. Therefore, the investigators concluded that
a comprehensive strategy to decrease cardiovascular morbidity and
mortality should include primarily a cardioprotective diet combined
with other options to reduce modifiable risk factors. (Note: The
Mediterranean diet is not a substitute for medical treatment for heart
Mediterranean diet is high in antioxidants, vitamins and certain fatty
acids. It also contains a considerable amount of fat (this is one
reason it tastes good). But it is healthier because the olive oil in
Mediterranean cooking is high in monounsaturated fat and low in
polyunsaturated and saturated fats.
Russo Jr., Pharm.D., is senior vice president of medical
communications at Vicus.com. He is a pharmacist and medical writer
with more than 20 years of experience in medical education.
De Lorgeril M, Salen P. Wine ethanol, platelets and Mediterranean
diet. Lancet. 1999 Mar 27; 353(9158):1067.
De Lorgeril M, Salen P, et
al. Mediterranean diet, traditional risk factors and the rate of
cardiovascular complications after myocardial infarction: final report
of the Lyon Diet Heart Study. Circulation. 1999 Feb
De Lorgeril M, Salen P, et
al. Control of bias in dietary trial to prevent coronary
recurrences: the Lyon Diet Heart study. Eur J Clin Nutr.
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Owen RW, Giacosa A, et
al. The antioxidant/anticancer potential of phenolic compounds
isolated from olive oil. Eur J Cancer. 2000 Jun 1;
Ryan M, McInerney D, et
al. Diabetes and the Mediterranean diet: a beneficial effect of
oleic acid on insulin sensitivity, adipocyte glucose transport and
endothelium-dependent vasoreactivity. QJM. 2000
Vogel RA. The
Mediterranean diet and endothelial function: Why some dietary fats may
be healthy. Cleve Clin J Med. 2000 Apr; 67(4):232,
Wasling C. Role of the
cardioprotective diet in preventing coronary heart disease. Br
J Nurs. 1999 Oct 14-27; 8(18):1239-48.