Browsing Clinical Sciences and Nutrition by Publisher "BMJ"
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Optimum nutritional strategies for cardiovascular disease prevention and rehabilitation (BACPR)Nutrition has a central role in both primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) yet only relatively recently has food been regarded as a treatment, rather than as an adjunct to established medical and pharmacotherapy. As a field of research, nutrition science is constantly evolving making it difficult for patients and practitioners to ascertain best practice. This is compounded further by the inherent difficulties in performing double-blind randomised controlled trials. This paper covers dietary patterns that are associated with improved cardiovascular outcomes, including the Mediterranean Diet but also low-carbohydrate diets and the potential issues encountered with their implementation. We suggest there must be a refocus away from macronutrients and consideration of whole foods when advising individuals. This approach is fundamental to practice, as clinical guidelines have focussed on macronutrients without necessarily considering their source, and ultimately people consume foods containing multiple nutrients. The inclusion of food-based recommendations aids the practitioner to help the patient make genuine and meaningful changes in their diet. We advocate that the cardioprotective diet constructed around the traditional Mediterranean eating pattern (based around vegetables and fruits, nuts, legumes, and unrefined cereals, with modest amounts of fish and shellfish, and fermented dairy products) is still important. However there are other approaches that can be tried, including low-carbohydrate diets. We encourage practitioners to adopt a flexible dietary approach, being mindful of patient preferences and other comorbidities that may necessitate deviations away from established advice, and advocate for more dietitians in this field to guide the multi-professional team.