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Dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet reduces cholesterol and long-term cardiovascular risk

In research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Obarzanek et al. tested the effects of a blood pressure-lowering diet, the Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension (DASH), on lipid lowering in a cohort that was half female and more than half African American. The DASH diet contains increased amounts of fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products and reduced amounts of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. The authors found that the DASH diet produced significant changes in total, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, but no change in triacylglycerol levels.

The 436 participants were middle-aged men and women (average age 44 years) who were all overweight or obese, inactive, and had high blood pressure. In an 8-week trial, the subjects consumed a control diet based on the typical American diet, a diet increased in fruit and vegetables, or the DASH diet. The DASH diet resulted in an average 13.7 mg/dL decline in total cholesterol, a 10.7 mg/dL decline in LDL cholesterol, and a 3.7 mg/dL decline in HDL cholesterol. Men had a greater improvement in LDL: HDL than women did, while African Americans and whites had the same response to the diet. By contrast, cholesterol reductions were insignificant with the fruit and vegetable diet. Based on these results, the authors project that adherents to the DASH diet could expect a 12% reduction in cardiovascular risk over a 10-year period, compared with a somewhat increased risk for those who consume the control diet.

An editorial by Blackburn cautions that the extent of behavior modification that would be required to adopt a diet with twice the volume of healthful food in the typical American diet could be prohibitive, whereas "those who make small, incremental changes in their diet over time have the highest probability of success."


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Contact: Sharon Lovejoy
sllovejoy@ucdavis.edu
530-752-8363
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
21-Jun-2001


Page: 1

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