Aim: We conducted a pilot study to clarify the effects of the Japan Diet nutritional education program on metabolic risk factors for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in middle-aged men who were brought up in the westernized dietary environment of modern Japan.
Methods: Thirty-three men, 30-49 years of age, attended a nutrition education class to learn food items and recommended volumes comprising the Japan Diet (more fish, soybeans and soy products, vegetables, seaweed, mushrooms and unrefined cereals, and less animal fat, meat and poultry with fat, sweets, desserts and snacks, and alcoholic drinks), and were encouraged to consume the Japan Diet for 6 weeks. Anthropometric and biochemical parameters were measured and 3-day weighted dietary records were kept before and at completion of the intervention.
Results: Ninety-one percent of participants showed improvements in more than one cardiovascular risk factor after 6 weeks. Body weight, serum low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, malondialdehyde modified (MDA)-LDL and triglyceride concentrations decreased significantly, while high density lipoprotein cholesterol was unchanged. Fish, soy, and sum of seaweed, mushrooms and konjak intakes doubled, and green and yellow vegetable intakes also increased as compared to baseline. Meanwhile, intakes of refined cereals, meat and poultry, sweets, desserts and snacks, and margarine and shortening decreased. Total energy, lipid, and saturated and monounsaturated fatty acid intakes decreased, while n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, dietary fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins D and K, potassium, and magnesium increased, with no change in sodium intake.
Conclusions: The Japan Diet is suggested to improve atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk factors in middle-aged Japanese men.The clinical trial registration number: UMIN000020639.