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Background and objectives: Lipoprotein particle concentrations and size are associated with increased risk for atherosclerosis and premature cardiovascular disease. Studies also suggest that certain dietary behaviours may be cardioprotective. Limited comparative data regarding any dietary score/index-lipoprotein particle subclass associations exist. Thus, our objective was to assess relationships between the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), Health Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015), Mediterranean Diet (MD) and Energy-adjusted Dietary Inflammatory Index (E-DII™) scores and plasma lipids and lipoprotein profiles to test the hypothesis that healthier diet (better quality and more anti-inflammatory) would be associated with a more favourable lipoprotein profile.

Materials and methods: This was a cross-sectional study of 1862 men and women aged 46–73 years, randomly selected from a large primary care centre in Ireland. DASH, HEI-2015, MD and E-DII scores were derived from food frequency questionnaires. Lipoprotein subclass particle concentrations and size were determined using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Correlation and multivariate-adjusted linear regression analyses with correction for multiple testing were performed to examine dietary score relationships with lipoprotein particle subclasses.

Results: In fully adjusted models, higher diet quality or a more anti-inflammatory diet was associated with less large and medium very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) (DASH and HEI-2015), intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL) (DASH, MD and E-DII) and small high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (DASH, HEI-2015 and E-DII) particles. After accounting for multiple testing, relationships with large VLDL (DASH: β = -0.102, p = .037), IDL (DASH: β = -0.089, p = .037) and small HDL (DASH: β = -0.551, p = .014 and E-DII: β = 0.483, p = .019) concentrations persisted.

Conclusions: These findings provide evidence that better diet quality, determined by the DASH score, may be more closely associated with a more favourable lipoprotein particle subclass profile in middle-to older-aged adults than the HEI-2015, MD and E-DII scores. A less pro-atherogenic lipoprotein status may be a potential mechanism underlying the cardioprotective effects of higher dietary quality.

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© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (

APA Citation

Millar, S. R., Navarro, P., Harrington, J. M., Shivappa, N., Hébert, J. R., Perry, I. J., & Phillips, C. M. (2021). Comparing dietary score associations with lipoprotein particle subclass profiles: A cross-sectional analysis of a middle-to older-aged population. Clinical Nutrition, 40(7), 4720–4729.