Does a low-fat diet reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease?

From: JAMA

Journal rating:
rating: 100%
Study Quality:
rating: 85%

Overall Reliability

Article Quality:
rating: 90%
rating: 75%


  • 48,835 post-menopausal women aged 50 to 79 years.


  • Women were randomly assigned to an intervention (19,541 [40%]) or comparison group (29,294 [60%]).
  • The intervention group received intensive behaviour modification in group and individual sessions designed to reduce total fat intake to 20% of calories and increase intakes of vegetables/ fruits to 5 servings/d and grains to at least 6 servings/d.
  • The comparison group received diet-related education materials.
  • Average follow-up in this analysis was 8.1 years.


  • By year 6, average fat intake decreased by 8.2% of energy intake in the intervention vs the comparison group, with small decreases in saturated (2.9%), monounsaturated (3.3%), and polyunsaturated (1.5%) fat; increases occurred in intakes of vegetables/fruits (1.1 servings/d) and grains (0.5 serving/d).
  • Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and diastolic blood pressure were significantly reduced.
  • Levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and insulin did not significantly differ in the intervention vs comparison groups.
  • The numbers who developed coronary heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease (annualised incidence rates) were 1000 (0.63%), 434 (0.28%), and 1357 (0.86%) in the intervention and 1549 (0.65%), 642 (0.27%), and 2088 (0.88%) in the comparison group.
  • The diet had no significant effects on incidence of coronary heart disease stroke, or cardiovascular disease.


  • No (with confidence)