Background: Effects of diet on blood lipids are best known in white men, and effects of type of carbohydrate on triacylglycerol concentrations are not well defined.
Objective: Our goal was to determine the effects of diet on plasma lipids, focusing on subgroups by sex, race, and baseline lipid concentrations.
Design: This was a randomized controlled outpatient feeding trial conducted in 4 field centers. The subjects were 436 participants of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Trial [mean age: 44.6 y; 60% African American; baseline total cholesterol: < or = 6.7 mmol/L (< or = 260 mg/dL)]. The intervention consisted of 8 wk of a control diet, a diet increased in fruit and vegetables, or a diet increased in fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and reduced in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol (DASH diet), during which time subjects remained weight stable. The main outcome measures were fasting total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triacylglycerol.
Results: Relative to the control diet, the DASH diet resulted in lower total (-0.35 mmol/L, or -13.7 mg/dL), LDL- (-0.28 mmol/L, or -10.7 mg/dL), and HDL- (-0.09 mmol/L, or -3.7 mg/dL) cholesterol concentrations (all P < 0.0001), without significant effects on triacylglycerol. The net reductions in total and LDL cholesterol in men were greater than those in women by 0.27 mmol/L, or 10.3 mg/dL (P = 0.052), and by 0.29 mmol/L, or 11.2 mg/dL (P < 0.02), respectively. Changes in lipids did not differ significantly by race or baseline lipid concentrations, except for HDL, which decreased more in participants with higher baseline HDL-cholesterol concentrations than in those with lower baseline HDL-cholesterol concentrations. The fruit and vegetable diet produced few significant lipid changes.
Conclusions: The DASH diet is likely to reduce coronary heart disease risk. The possible opposing effect on coronary heart disease risk of HDL reduction needs further study.