Clinical Feeding Study Results

The Lyon Diet Heart study and the Indo-Mediterranean diet trial relied on behavior modification strategies to promote adoption of the Mediterranean diet plans to participants. Compliance with dietary recommendations was hard to assess and effects of on-traditional CVD risk factors hard to ascertain. In fact, in the Lyon Diet Heart study, end-of study assessment of the traditional CVD risk factors including blood pressure and lipids, were not different between groups.8 This finding was unexpected as emphasis on unsaturated fatty acids rather than saturated or trans-fatty acids would be expected to beneficially affect serum lipid levels.23 Likewise, dietary patterns emphasizing fruits and vegetables have been shown to substantially lower blood pressure and are discussed next.2 Hence determining the effects of the Mediterranean diet on traditional CVD risk factors, including blood pressure and lipids, and on markers of oxidative stress, may be best determined in a different setting: clinical feeding studies. Feeding trials are conducted under ideal conditions of monitoring and compliance where all components of diet are controlled. Three seminal feeding trials described below were designed to examine effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure and lipids and allows for true estimates of the effects of changes of dietary patterns on traditional CVD risk factors.

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