In an article in the February 8 JAMA, Barbara V. Howard, Ph.D., of Medstar Research Institute/Howard University, Washington, D.C., and colleagues with the Women's Health Initiative (WHI, a study which included nearly 50,000 women) analyzed data from the WHI Dietary Modification Trial to determine the effect of a diet low in fat intake and high in consumption of vegetables, fruits and grains on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk.
After an average of 8.1 years of follow-up, levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure were significantly reduced. Levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and insulin did not significantly differ in the intervention vs. comparison groups. The researchers found that the diet had no significant effects on incidence of CHD, stroke, CVD, or heart attack. Trends toward greater reductions in CHD risk were observed in those with lower intakes of saturated fat or trans fat or higher intakes of vegetables/fruits.
"To achieve a significant public health impact on CVD events, a greater magnitude of change in multiple macronutrients and micronutrients and other behaviors that influence CVD risk factors may be necessary," the authors conclude.
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