MNT for Hypercholesterolemia
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and costs billions of dollars for treatment each year. One of the most prominent risk factors for heart disease is hypercholesterolemia, or high blood cholesterol levels. Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) from registered dietitians is an important part in the improvement and treatment of high cholesterol.
One study by Delahanty et al. compared the effects of MNT from registered dietitians and the usual care from physicians on the impact of cholesterol levels. The MNT included counseling visits with a registered dietitian for 6 months and those in the physician care group only received advice from their doctor with no interaction with a dietitian. No one in either group was receiving medication to lower their cholesterol. Throughout the study, 24-hour recalls were used to assess energy, fat, cholesterol, and fiber intake.
The MNT group for hypercholesterolemia, showed a 7-8% decrease in total fat intake and 4% decrease in saturated fat intake. This group also had a 6% decrease in cholesterol levels compared with no significant decrease in the physician group. The MNT group also showed more weight loss, more physical activity, and more satisfaction with their treatment than the other group.
During the medical nutrition therapy, the register dietitians were more likely to include handouts, written instructions, recipes, and different counseling strategies in their treatment program. After the study, about one-third of those who were in the physician group resorted to medications, weight loss programs, or contacting a dietitian. None of those in the MNT group were prescribed medications following the program.
Medical nutrition therapy is beneficial in decreasing cholesterol levels and reducing risk of heart disease. Using MNT for healthy lifestyle changes and behavior modification is effective in helping individuals improve their diet and lose weight, which decreases the risk of many future health issues. Higher patient satisfaction indicates the importance of the quality of treatment and the individualized attention of nutrition counseling.
Delahanty, L. M., Sonnenberg, L. M., Hayden, D., & Nathan, D. M. (2001). Clinical and cost outcomes of medical nutrition therapy for hypercholesterolemia: a controlled trial. , (9), 1012-1023.