Modification of diet

Dietary modifications should form the basis of CVD prevention. In addition to general steps on motivating patients to undertake and maintain behavior changes, it can be helpful to also consider the following points when addressing diet:

  • Work closely with your patient and his/her family to understand their diet history, food preferences, meal patterns and ethnic background
  • Consider asking your patient to keep a food diary for a few days before their next appointment to enable a meaningful discussion about their dietary habits
  • Use a diet sheet that can be tailored and other visual support material (such as the Eatwell plate, and patient fact sheet) to educate your patient about the importance of making small changes to their diet and how those changes could have a big effect on their cholesterol levels
  • Involve your patient as much as possible in this process by letting them choose the foods they think they can include healthier options – then have a discussion around these as a basis
    • Discuss replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats and provide foods examples
    • Discuss increasing dietary fibre intake, with a special focus on soluble fibre and beta-glucan intake
    • Discuss adding a food with added plant stanols/sterols
  • Make sure the patient understands how quickly they could expect to see these changes affecting their cholesterol levels
  • Consider referring the patient to a registered dietician
  • Ensure a follow-up schedule is in place to help support your patient through this time of habitual change
  • Repeat if necessary
Test your knowledge
Which dietary advice would you give to your patients? (More than one answer may be correct)
  1. Increasing consumption of fruits and berries
  2. Exchanging refined cereals with wholegrain cereals
  3. Exchanging butter, butter-based spreads with vegetable oils, vegetable oil-based spreads
  4. Exchanging low-fat dairy with high-fat diary
Check your answer