Medical nutrition therapy paired with medical treatment may reduce future heart disease, study says
Patients with hypertension and Type 2 diabetes who consume a high fiber diet had improvement in their blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting glucose, according to a new study presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Middle East Conference 2019 together with the 10th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress.
The study tracked 200 participants' fiber intake for six months and included check-ups at the start of the study, three months, and six months. Participants were provided diet prescriptions, which included detailed lists of different food groups with portion sizes in regional languages. Qualified dietitians provided the information through regular counseling sessions and used audio-visual aids to ensure understanding among study participants.
The researchers tracked participants' fiber intake several ways, including having patients send photos of their meals on WhatsApp and phone calls three times a week during which detailed dietary recall was taken.
According to guidelines from the American Heart Association, total dietary fiber intake should be 25 to 30 grams a day from food, not supplements. Patients in this study had type 2 diabetes and a calorie intake of 1,200 to 1,500 calories, with their daily fiber intake between 24 and 30 grams. The fiber intake of these patients was increased up to 20 to 25 percent from the recommended allowances for them to be consuming a high fiber diet.
Participants on a high fiber diet experienced significant improvement in several cardiovascular risk factors, including a 9 percent reduction in serum cholesterol, 23 percent reduction in triglycerides, 15 percent reduction of systolic blood pressure, and a 28 percent reduction of fasting glucose, researchers said. The researchers found a high fiber diet is inversely related with cardiovascular risk factors and plays a protective role against cardiovascular disease.
“Comprehensive evaluation of etiological effects of dietary factors on cardiometabolic outcomes, their quantitative effects and corresponding optimal intakes are well-established,” said Rohit Kapoor, MD, lead author of the study and medical director of Care Well Heart and Super Specialty Hospital in Amritsar, India. “This study helps us determine three important things for this patient population. Firstly, a high fiber diet is important in cases of diabetes and hypertension to prevent future cardiovascular disease. Secondly, medical nutrition therapy and regular counseling sessions also hold great importance in treating and prevention of diabetes and hypertension. Thirdly, this type of diet in combination with medical treatment can improve dyslipidemia, pulse wave velocity, waist-to-hip ratio and hypertension.”