March 4, 2013

Successful randomized trial of diet

As I have previously observed, there are far too many clever ideas and far too few actual evaluations of effectiveness in diet research, so it’s great to see something that has actually worked.

Researchers in Spain randomized 7500 people at high risk of cardiovascular disease to be told to follow a Mediterranean diet with extra olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with extra nuts, or just to get standard background dietary advice.  The trial was stopped early, after about five years’ followup, because the two Mediterranean diet groups had a substantially lower rate of major cardiovascular events.  The relative risk reduction was about 30%, and the absolute risk reduction about 1 percentage point.

Getting people to adopt a Mediterranean diet may be easier in Spain, so it would be good to have similar results for other recommended diets, eg, based on south-east Asian food.

(via Simply Statistics)


Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »