Media Releases

No need to nag: study finds doctors’ nutrition advice hits home early

August 24, 2011

TORONTO, ON — Hear­ing dietary advice twice is enough for patients to get the sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits of low­er cho­les­terol, accord­ing to a new study led by doc­tors at St. Michael’s Hos­pi­tal and the­Uni­ver­si­ty ofToron­to.

“We’re see­ing more and more peo­ple want to take their health into their own hands,” said Dr. David Jenk­ins, the lead author of the study and direc­tor of the hospital’s Risk Fac­tor Mod­i­fi­ca­tion Cen­tre. Dr. Jenk­ins is also Canada’s Research Chair in Nutri­tion and Metab­o­lism at U of T’s Depart­ment of Nutri­tion­al Sci­ences.

Jenk­ins and his team mea­sured participant’s reduc­tion inLD­Lor “bad” cho­les­terol after dietary advice was giv­en at one of two lev­els of inten­si­ty – two times in six months (“rou­tine”) or sev­en times in six months (“inten­sive”).

Both groups were asked to eat a com­bi­na­tion of foods with cho­les­terol low­er­ing prop­er­ties, known as a dietary port­fo­lio. This includ­ed the four port­fo­lio com­po­nents: soy pro­teins, vicious or “sticky” fibres, nuts and plant sterols.

They found that regard­less of which group par­tic­i­pants were assigned to, both groups low­ered theirLDL­c­ho­les­terol almost the exact same amount—13.1 per cent for rou­tine and 13.8 per cent for inten­sive.

Jenk­ins says the find­ings are encour­ag­ing because it is a “great bur­den off the med­ical sys­tem if peo­ple are equipped to look after them­selves. Doc­tors can do a bet­ter job if there are few­er patients to see.”

The goal was to look at the effect of dietary advice in real-world con­di­tions, the authors not­ed in the paper.

Par­tic­i­pant ses­sions with a dietit­ian involved a 40 to 60 minute check-in and diet mon­i­tor­ing. Par­tic­i­pants were asked to bring in a sev­en-day diet record which was ana­lyzed by a dietit­ian who advised ways to improve their diet.

A con­trol group did not receive any dietary advice dur­ing the six month peri­od and was placed on a dif­fer­ent, although still healthy low-sat­u­rat­ed fat diet but with no port­fo­lio com­po­nents. Their cho­les­terol was low­ered by three per cent.

The study includ­ed 345 par­tic­i­pants and took place in aca­d­e­m­ic cen­tres across Canada(Quebec City, Toron­to, Win­nipegand Van­cou­ver). The results appear in the cur­rent issue of the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion (JAMA).

Dr. Jenk­ins devel­oped the glycemic index and is one ofCanada’s fore­most nutri­tion experts.


About St. Michael’s

St. Michael’s Hos­pi­tal pro­vides com­pas­sion­ate care to all who enter its doors. The hos­pi­tal also pro­vides out­stand­ing med­ical edu­ca­tion to future health care pro­fes­sion­als in more than 23 aca­d­e­m­ic dis­ci­plines. Crit­i­cal care and trau­ma, heart dis­ease, neu­ro­surgery, dia­betes, can­cer care, and care of the home­less are among the Hospital’s rec­og­nized areas of exper­tise. Through the Keenan Research Cen­tre and the­LiKaShing­In­ter­na­tion­al­Health­ca­reE­d­u­ca­tion­Cen­ter, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowl­edge Insti­tute, research and edu­ca­tion at St. Michael’s Hos­pi­tal are rec­og­nized and make an impact around the world. Found­ed in 1892, the hos­pi­tal is ful­ly affil­i­at­ed with the Uni­ver­si­ty­ofToron­to.


About Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to:

Estab­lished in 1827, the­Uni­ver­si­ty­ofToron­to­has assem­bled one of the strongest research and teach­ing fac­ul­ties inNorth Amer­i­ca, pre­sent­ing top stu­dents at all lev­els with an intel­lec­tu­al envi­ron­ment unmatched in breadth and depth on any oth­er Cana­di­an cam­pus. U of T fac­ul­ty co-author more research arti­cles than their col­leagues at any uni­ver­si­ty in theUSor­Canadaother than Har­vard. As a mea­sure of impact, U of T con­sis­tent­ly ranks along­side the top fiveU.S.universities whose dis­cov­er­ies are most often cit­ed by oth­er researchers around the world.  The U of T fac­ul­ty are also wide­ly rec­og­nized for their teach­ing strengths and com­mit­ment to grad­u­ate super­vi­sion.

For more infor­ma­tion or to speak to Dr. Jenk­ins, con­tact:

Paul Can­tin
Asso­ciate Direc­tor, Strate­gic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions,
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Temer­ty Temer­ty Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine