Change in dietary behaviour is considered to be a first-line approach to the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease risk. Dietitians can help change behaviour and modify risk factors by educating and counselling patients. This is particularly true for patients who are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Dietary changes aim at improving blood lipid profiles. This is generally achieved through an increase in dietary fibre intake, fruit and vegetable intake, and the adoption of whole food dietary approaches such as the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet.
To date, there has been no major evaluation of the effectiveness of dietetic consultation for lowering cardiometabolic risk factors in high-risk individuals. There is also no recommendation on the optimal frequency and duration of dietetic consultation that could potentially produce a positive health outcome in patients.
This systematic review and meta-analyses evaluates the effectiveness of dietetic consultation for lowering blood lipid levels in high-risk individuals. For the purpose of this evaluation, dietetic consultation (DN) was defined as at least one exclusive individual face-to-face consultation with a dietitian and was compared with no nutrition intervention or minimal dietary care provided by physicians and/or nurses.
Results show that patients with dietetic consultation had more effective lowering of total cholesterol (TC) and LDL across nine studies and across five or six studies that reported triglycerides. Results were pretty much in favour of DN across all studies.
These findings confirm that dietetic counselling is effective for lowering triglyceride levels. However, there is a need for greater consistency in timing interventions as well as more clinical evidence to increase confidence in the health benefits of dietetic counselling for the management of cardiovascular risk.
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