Lifestyle counseling in patients with carotid arteriosclerosis from Luxemburg should focus more on the reduction of sugar, sodium and saturated fat consumption.
BACKGROUND: Healthy diet and physical activity improve risk factors for cerebrovascular disease. It is unclear whether patients with carotid artery disease from Luxemburg meet common guideline criteria and whether systematic counseling has a sustained effect. METHODS: We assessed anthropometric data, eating habits and physical activity habits in 53 patients with carotid atherosclerosis at baseline, after 4 and 20 weeks, and advised them five times for 30 min to follow a modified Mediterranean diet and to perform moderate physical exercise at least during 30 min/day. RESULTS: The patients had a mildly increased BMI (mean 27.6, recommended below 25), they already ate enough vegetables and fruits (mean 485 g daily, recommended at least 400 g), they ate too much sugar (mean 74 g daily) and sodium (mean 2710 mg daily, recommended less than 1500), they consumed 13% of calories from saturated fatty acids (recommended less than 10%), and they already moved sufficiently (62 min daily of moderate and intense physical activity, recommended at least 30 min of moderate physical activity). Lifestyle counseling had a sustained effect on weight, reduction of global caloric intake, carbohydrate and cholesterol intake and on an increase in consumption of poly-unsaturated fatty acids, vegetables and fibres. There was no sustained effect on the consumption of sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. CONCLUSIONS: The reduction of sugar, sodium and saturated fat consumption should be stressed more in counselling of this patient group.