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Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Dec 1;108(6):1166-1182. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy207.

A Mediterranean diet supplemented with dairy foods improves markers of cardiovascular risk: results from the MedDairy randomized controlled trial.

Author information

Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition, and Activity, School of Health Sciences.
School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
Medical School, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
Flinders Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.



The Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) offers benefits to cardiovascular health but may not meet Western recommendations for calcium and dairy intake, which could impede long-term adoption.


The current study aimed to determine the effect of a MedDiet supplemented with dairy foods on cardiovascular risk factors.


A randomized, controlled, crossover design compared a MedDiet with 3-4 daily servings of dairy (MedDairy) and a low-fat (LF) control diet. Forty-one participants aged ≥45 y and at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) were randomly allocated to their first intervention, either the MedDairy or LF diet. Participants followed each intervention for 8 wk, and an 8-wk washout period separated interventions. The primary outcome was home-measured systolic blood pressure (SBP) assessed in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Secondary outcomes included clinic-measured blood pressure (morning), body composition, blood lipids, C-reactive protein (CRP), plasma glucose, serum insulin, and the Framingham Risk Score.


Compared with the LF intervention, the MedDairy intervention resulted in a significantly lower morning SBP (mean difference: -1.6 mm Hg; 95% CI: -2.8, -0.4 mm Hg; P = 0.01), lower morning diastolic blood pressure (mean difference: -1.0; 95% CI: -1.7, -0.2 mm Hg; P = 0.01) and clinic SBP (mean difference: -3.5 mm Hg; 95% CI: -6.4, -0.7 mm Hg; P = 0.02), significantly higher HDL cholesterol (mean difference: 0.04 mmol/L; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.06 mmol/L; P < 0.01), lower triglycerides (mean difference: = -0.05 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.08, -0.01 mmol/L; P < 0.01), and lower ratio of total to HDL cholesterol (mean difference: -0.4; 95% CI: -0.6, -0.2; P < 0.001). No effects were observed for other outcome measures.


Following a MedDiet with additional dairy foods led to significant changes in markers of cardiovascular risk over 8 wk. The MedDiet supplemented with dairy may be appropriate for an improvement in cardiovascular risk factors in a population at risk of CVD. This trial was registered at as ACTRN12616000309482.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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