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Can a Mediterranean Diet Reduce the Effects of Lipodystrophy Syndrome in People Living With HIV? A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

February 11, 2011

HIV infection and the highly active antiretroviral therapies that fight it both are associated with changes in patients’ lipid profile and fat distribution (lipodystrophy). A pilot study was carried out for a randomized controlled trial to determine whether lipodystrophy in HIV patients can be controlled by adopting a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet or a modified Mediterranean diet.

The participants, 48 HIV patients, were randomized into two diet groups. The one-year study involved regular dietetic consultations during which lipid levels, weight, body mass index, and fat distribution were recorded. Of participants, 36 (75 percent) completed the study.

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In the low-fat group, undesirable body fat changes included decreases in tricep skinfold (from 19.9 mm to 15.4 mm (P=0.03)) and hip circumference (from 93.6 cm to 91.7 cm (P=0.01)), but a significant increase in waist-to-hip ratio (from 0.87 to 0.89 (P=0.003)). Serum cholesterol increased significantly at nine and 12 months (from 4.6 to 5.06 mmol L-1 (P=0.03) and 5.12 mmol L-1 (P=0.01)) in the Mediterranean diet group, with no obvious change in the low-fat diet group. While serum triglyceride levels remained the same in the Mediterranean diet group, they increased from 1.9 to 3.22 mmol L-1 (P=0.07) in the low-fat group.

"A Mediterranean diet seems to have an advantage over the low-fat diet in maintaining serum triglyceride levels and avoiding lipodystrophy, but this advantage was offset by a rise in cholesterol level," the authors concluded. "Several procedural and methodological issues were identified which must be rectified before a similar large-scale trial taking place."

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Excerpted from:
Sexual Health
01.2011; Vol. 8; No. 1: P. 43-51; Geraldine Wai Bik Ng; Una Man Shu Chan; Patrick Chung Ki Li; William C.W. Wong




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