Articles4 July 2006
A Randomized Trial
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    This article has been corrected. The original version (PDF) is appended to this article as a Supplement.


    The Mediterranean diet has been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors.


    To compare the short-term effects of 2 Mediterranean diets versus those of a low-fat diet on intermediate markers of cardiovascular risk.


    Substudy of a multicenter, randomized, primary prevention trial of cardiovascular disease (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea [PREDIMED] Study).


    Primary care centers affiliated with 10 teaching hospitals.


    772 asymptomatic persons 55 to 80 years of age at high cardiovascular risk who were recruited from October 2003 to March 2004.


    Participants were assigned to a low-fat diet (n = 257) or to 1 of 2 Mediterranean diets. Those allocated to Mediterranean diets received nutritional education and either free virgin olive oil, 1 liter per week (n = 257), or free nuts, 30 g/d (n = 258). The authors evaluated outcome changes at 3 months.


    Body weight, blood pressure, lipid profile, glucose levels, and inflammatory molecules.


    The completion rate was 99.6%. Compared with the low-fat diet, the 2 Mediterranean diets produced beneficial changes in most outcomes. Compared with the low-fat diet, the mean changes in the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group and the Mediterranean diet with nuts group were −0.39 mmol/L (95% CI, −0.70 to − 0.07 mmol/L) and − 0.30 mmol/L (CI, −0.58 to − 0.01 mmol/L), respectively, for plasma glucose levels; −5.9 mm Hg (CI, −8.7 to −3.1 mm Hg) and − 7.1 mm Hg (CI, −10.0 to −4.1 mm Hg), respectively, for systolic blood pressure; and −0.38 (CI, −0.55 to − 0.22) and − 0.26 (CI, −0.42 to −0.10), respectively, for the cholesterol–high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio. The Mediterranean diet with olive oil reduced C-reactive protein levels by 0.54 mg/L (CI, 1.04 to 0.03 mg/L) compared with the low-fat diet.


    This short-term study did not focus on clinical outcomes. Nutritional education about low-fat diet was less intense than education about Mediterranean diets.


    Compared with a low-fat diet, Mediterranean diets supplemented with olive oil or nuts have beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors.

    *For a list of additional PREDIMED Study Investigators, see the Appendix.


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