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Background & aimsMediterranean diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the effect is unknown in people living with HIV, who have an increased risk potentially due to the additional burdens of infection, inflammation and antiretroviral treatment (ART). We examined the feasibility of a 6-month dietary intervention in adults with HIV dyslipidemia using a sample size adequate to detect differences in LDL-cholesterol.MethodsSixty adults with stable HIV infection on ART and LDL-cholesterol >3 mmol/l were recruited. Participants were randomized (1:1) to receive dietary advice to reduce saturated fat intake to <10% of energy intake (Diet1), or supported to adopt the Mediterranean Portfolio Diet (Diet2) with additional cholesterol-lowering foods (nuts, stanols, soya, oats, beans) for 6 months. Recruitment, retention and intervention fidelity were monitored. Measurements were conducted at baseline, 6 and 12 months. A secondary analysis examined between group differences in CVD risk factors at month 6 adjusted for baseline values and potential confounders.ResultsRates of recruitment, participation and attrition were 35%, 91%, and 12% respectively. Reported dietary adherence was 68% to Mediterranean foods and 59% to Portfolio components. At 6 months Diet2 participants (n = 29) had a significantly lower LDL-cholesterol (mean difference adjusted for baseline -0.4 mmol/l, 95%CI -0.7 to -0.1, P = 0.01), and systolic blood pressure (-7 mmHg, 95%CI -2 to -12, P = 0.008) compared to those in Diet1 (n = 31). These effects were not sustained at 1 year (LDL-cholesterol -0.05 mmol/l, 95%CI -0.33 to 0.23, P = 0.7; systolic blood pressure -3.5 mmHg, 95%CI -9.4 to 2.5, P = 0.2).ConclusionWe showed the feasibility of adopting a Mediterranean Portfolio diet in people living with HIV. Our findings suggest this intervention might equate to short term improvements in diet quality, blood pressure, and LDL-cholesterol. Further definitive evaluations are required to determine if this is a viable strategy to facilitate cardiovascular risk reduction.Clinical trial registryISRCTN32090191 Best Foods For your heart trial.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Publication Date





860 - 869


Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, UK; Birmingham Heartlands HIV Service, Department of Infection and Immunology, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, UK. Electronic address:


Humans, HIV Infections, Diet, Fat-Restricted, Pilot Projects, Diet, Mediterranean, Energy Intake, Blood Pressure, Adult, Female, Male, Dyslipidemias, Cholesterol, LDL, Heart Disease Risk Factors