Isocaloric Mediterranean diet yields improved cholesterol in those with high BMI

  • Meslier V & al.
  • Gut
  • 19 Feb 2020

  • curated by Jenny Blair, MD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Among people with overweight and obesity, a switch to a Mediterranean diet resulted in improved cholesterol.
  • The improvement developed without changes in caloric or macronutrient intake or physical activity.
  • Authors: a Mediterranean diet “may remodel the intestinal microbiome towards a state that promotes metabolic and cardiovascular health.”

Why this matters

  • The Mediterranean diet has been linked to prevention of many serious diseases.

Key results

  • At 4 weeks, the Mediterranean group had steeper decreases in total plasma cholesterol (P=.03) and high-density lipoprotein (P=.02) vs the usual-diet group.
    • The decreases showed a dose response with higher adherence.
  • In the Mediterranean group, researchers also observed shifts in gut microbiome composition and in multiple metabolic measures.
  • Among Mediterranean-group participants whose microbiome gene richness increased, inflammatory biomarkers improved.

Study design

  • 8-week randomized clinical DINAMIC trial (n=82).
  • Sedentary adults with overweight or obesity were randomly assigned to a tailored Mediterranean diet with unchanged caloric intake or their regular diets.
  • No change in physical activity was required.
  • Outcome: change in plasma lipids.
  • Funding: European governmental funds.

Limitations

  • Observed changes were small in magnitude; clinical relevance unclear.