Diet to reduce cardiovascular disease risk

Diet to reduce cardiovascular disease risk

Academics at King’s will be undertaking a study on changing diet on risk of cardiovascular disease funded by the Food Standards Agency. The study will test the extent to which a cardioprotective dietary pattern lowers risk in middle-age and older people.

The project leader Professor Tom Sanders, Head of the Nutritional Sciences Division at King’s comments: ‘Dietary patterns are linked to risk of heart disease and stroke. Previous research has focused on changing single dietary components rather than the dietary pattern. This new study will test what is currently believed to be a cardioprotective dietary pattern suited to the UK compared with a traditional balanced diet.

’Research in the USA found that a global change in dietary pattern was more effective than tweaking one or two components.’

The study will focus on how the body uses and transports fats (lipid metabolism) and how well the blood vessels and circulation work (vascular function) using state of the art techniques.
Dietary intervention.

Cardioprotective diet

The cardioprotective diet contains less salt, fewer sugary drinks and saturated fatty acids but more oily fish, wholegrain cereals and fruit and vegetables. The control diet will be similar to a balanced UK diet composed of traditional foods.

The King’s study aims to recruit 196 men and women aged between 40-70 years. The participants will be randomly allocated to be on the cardioprotective or control diet for 3 months. Before and after the intervention, participants will provide blood and urine samples for analysis and have measurements of vascular function taken.

A key feature built into the study is the use of biomarkers of dietary intake to confirm that the subjects are really complying with the dietary advice. Blood pressure will be measured over 24 hours using a compact portable device and the responsiveness of blood vessels will be examined by modern imaging techniques.

Professor Sanders explains: ‘We are using robust techniques and a large number of participants to be confident that our findings will be dependable. It is tremendously important that dietary advice for preventing heart attacks and strokes, most of which occur without prior warning, is based on solid science’

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