Research: BURR and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 95

Abstract

BURR and colleagues, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK, michael.burr@bro-taf-ha.nhs.uk, have found that dietary advice does not benefit men with angina.

Background

The aim of this trial was to see whether mortality amongst men with angina could be lowered by dietary advice.

Methodology

3,114 men under 70 with angina were randomized to 4 groups and advised to either eat two portions of oily fish each week or take fish oil capsules; or eat more fruit, vegetables and oats; or given both instructions above; or given no dietary advice. Mortality was ascertained after 3 to 9 years.

Results

Compliance was better with the advice about fish than the advice about fruit. Mortality was unaffected by either type of advice. The men who had eaten fish oil capsules had a small but significantly increased risk of death from cardiac disease. This risk is unexplained but was not seen with those who ate more fish.

Conclusion

Advice about eating fruit and vegetables is poorly complied with by men with angina and had no discernible effect on their mortality. Advice on eating oily fish is better received but still confers no decrease in mortality from heart disease.

References

Burr ML, Ashfield-Watt PAL, Dunstan FDJ, Fehily AM, Breay P, Ashton T, Zotos PC, Haboubi NAA, Elwood PC. Lack of benefit of dietary advice to men with angina: results of a controlled trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 57 (2): 193-200, Feb 2003.

Comment

These research findings are depressingly familiar; the social implications are among the most difficult problems we will have to solve in order to persuade people to eat a more healthy diet. One would have thought that suffering angina would provide strong motivation to eat more fish or fruit. Personally, I would like to see these men enrolled into an oral chelation supplement programme, which could potentially have a significant impact upon their angina.

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