The association of dietary patterns and carotid intima-media thickness: A synthesis of current evidence

S Bhat, G Mocciaro, S Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Dietary pattern (DP) analysis has emerged as a holistic method to understand the effects of food intake on health outcomes. Though dietary intake has been associated with cardiovascular disease, the association of DPs and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), a robust early marker of cardiovascular disease progression has not been comprehensively investigated. This study systematically explores the association of a posteriori and a priori DPs and CIMT.

Data synthesis
Through a systematic search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, and Web of Science, twenty studies that derived DPs using a posteriori or a priori methods with CIMT as an outcome were included. Four cross-sectional studies and 1 cohort paper reported a statistically significant association between increased consumption of ‘unhealthy’ foods (i.e processed meat, soda drinks and refined grain) and increased CIMT. While four cross-sectional studies reported a statistically significant association of DPs characterized by increased consumption of ‘healthy’ foods (i.e fruit and vegetables, fish) and decreased CIMT. DPs derived from each study varied depending on derivation method, study design and use of dietary data collection method.

Findings from this review are generally supportive of a trend between DPs with higher consumption of ‘healthy’ foods and lower consumption of ‘unhealthy’ foods and decreased CIMT; however, the association was largely not statistically significant. Evidence was overwhelmingly heterogeneous due to differences seen in DPs based on location and culture, sample characteristics and adjustment for confounders. Long-term prospective observational and interventional studies with standardized sample selection and dietary data collection are needed to significantly establish the role of DPs on CIMT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1273-1287
Number of pages15
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number12
Early online date3 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Dec 2019


  • Dietary patterns
  • Carotid-intima media thickness
  • CIMT
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Nutritional epidemiology
  • Atherosclerosis
  • DASH diet
  • Mediterranean diet


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