In November 2018 researchers from the USA published the results of their study to assess the effect of adopting, abandoning, and then readopting a healthy eating pattern on cardiovascular disease risk factors. Information from two controlled feeding trials involving 60 individuals, average age 52 years, and with an average BMI of 31 kg/m² was used. The individuals had consumed either a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension-style or Mediterranean-style diet for two 5-6 week periods which had been separated by a four-week period of unrestricted eating. Ambulatory and fasting blood pressures, fasting lipids, lipoproteins, glucose, and insulin were measured before and during the last week of the healthy eating dietary patterns. Results showed that the fasting blood pressure levels, total cholesterol levels and HDL-cholesterol levels decreased, returned to what they had been at the start of the study, and then decreased again when adopting, abandoning, and then readopting the healthy eating dietary pattern. LDL-cholesterol levels decreased with initial adoption but not readoption of the healthy eating dietary pattern. Glucose and insulin assessments remained unchanged. The researchers concluded that healthcare professionals should not only encourage individuals to consistently consume a healthy eating dietary pattern for cardiovascular health but also to encourage them to try again if a first attempt is unsuccessful or short-lived.
O’Connor LE et al. Short-Term Effects of Healthy Eating Pattern Cycling on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Pooled Results from Two Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 10;10(11).