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Mediterranean and Low-Fat Diets' Impact on Reducing Mortality and Heart Attack Risks

A recent study featured in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has unveiled the effectiveness of Mediterranean and low-fat diets in decreasing mortality rates and heart attack risks for patients with a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease. This extensive study offers essential insights into the potential advantages of various dietary programs for high-risk individuals and lays a solid groundwork for future research and preventive measures.

Study Methodology

The research was performed as a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, aiming to evaluate the relative effectiveness of structured named diet and health behaviour programs (dietary programs) for preventing mortality and major cardiovascular events in patients predisposed to cardiovascular disease.

The researchers analyzed multiple randomized controlled trials, comparing distinct dietary programs and their potential outcomes. This approach allowed them to gather a wealth of data and draw significant conclusions from the results.

Results and Findings

The study's findings revealed that moderate certainty supports using Mediterranean and low-fat diets to reduce overall mortality and non-fatal myocardial infarction (heart attacks) for patients at increased cardiovascular risk. Notably, the research did not decisively show that a Mediterranean diet was substantially better than a low-fat diet in achieving these outcomes.

Furthermore, moderate certainty evidence also favoured a Mediterranean diet in reducing stroke risk, while a low-fat diet exhibited minimal to no benefit for stroke reduction.

Implications and Recommendations

This comprehensive study offers vital insights into the effectiveness of different dietary programs in decreasing mortality rates and the risk of major cardiovascular events for high-risk patients. It emphasizes the potential benefits of adopting a Mediterranean or low-fat diet for individuals predisposed to cardiovascular disease. These findings can help healthcare professionals recommend appropriate dietary interventions for their patients and serve as a basis for further research.

The full article is available on the BMJ website for those interested in learning more about this study. Meanwhile, patients and healthcare providers should discuss and consider personalized dietary plans for each individual's unique risk factors and health needs.


The groundbreaking study published in the British Medical Journal offers invaluable information on the effectiveness of Mediterranean and low-fat diets in reducing mortality rates and heart attack risks for patients with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings underscore the importance of considering dietary interventions as part of a comprehensive approach to managing and preventing cardiovascular diseases in high-risk patients. As more research is conducted in this area, we hope to see even more targeted and effective strategies for reducing cardiovascular risk and improving overall health and well-being for individuals worldwide.


Karam G, Agarwal A, Sadeghirad B, Jalink M, Hitchcock CL, Ge L, et al. Comparison of seven popular structured dietary programmes and risk of mortality and major cardiovascular events in patients at increased cardiovascular risk: systematic review and network meta-analysis. BMJ. 2023 Mar 29;380:e072003. Link

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