More Frequent Support and Counseling Increases Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet
In an ongoing randomized clinical trial, after one year, participants who received three contacts with a dietitian every month achieved higher diet adherence with a Mediterranean diet than those who received three contacts every six months. The Spanish study enrolled 6,874 men and women aged 55 to 75 years with metabolic syndrome and no known cardiovascular disease. All participants received free extra-virgin olive oil and nuts along with advice to follow a Mediterranean-style diet. The intervention group received many more behavioral support counseling sessions, along with advice to reduce calories and increase physical activity. The control group received fewer counseling sessions and no advice to restrict calories. The intervention group achieved almost double the increase in their Mediterranean diet “score” (a measure of their diet adherence) at 12 months. Longer-term evaluation is ongoing to see if this better adherence leads to lower risk of cardiovascular events.