British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Effect of a nutritional intervention promoting the Mediterranean food pattern on electrophoretic characteristics of low-density lipoprotein particles in healthy women from the Québec City metropolitan area

Julie Gouleta1, Benoît Lamarchea1, Amélie Charesta1, Geneviève Nadeaua1, Annie Lapointea1, Sophie Desrochesa1 and Simone Lemieuxa1 c1

a1 Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods, 2440 Hochelaga Blvd, Laval University, Québec, Québec, Canada, G1K 7P4


The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of a nutritional intervention promoting the Mediterranean food pattern in free-living conditions on LDL electrophoretic characteristics in a group of seventy-one healthy women, aged between 30 and 65 years. The 12-week nutritional intervention consisted of two courses on nutrition and seven individual sessions with a dietitian. The first course provided information on the Mediterranean food pattern and the second was a cooking lesson. LDL peak particle diameter (LDL-PPD) and cholesterol levels in small (LDL-cholesterol<255?Å) and large LDL fractions (LDL-cholesterol>260?Å) were obtained by 2–16% polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of whole plasma. The sample was divided on the basis of baseline LDL-PPD using tertiles of the distribution (258·4 Å and 260·0 Å). Among the total sample of women, no significant change in LDL-PPD was observed in response to the nutritional intervention. However, subjects who at baseline were in the first tertile of the LDL-PPD distribution (>258·4 Å) showed a significant increase in LDL-PPD and in the proportion of LDL% >260?%uest;Å in response to the 12-week nutritional intervention (P>0·05). In contrast, LDL-PPD decreased significantly (P=0·007) among women with large LDL particles at baseline (LDL-PPD >260 Å) while the proportion of LDL%<255 Å and of LDL%>260 Å remained unchanged. To conclude, changes in the food pattern, in response to a nutritional intervention promoting the Mediterranean food pattern, were accompanied by beneficial modifications in LDL electrophoretic characteristics in women who were characterised at baseline by smaller LDL particles.

(Received December 19 2003)

(Revised April 08 2004)

(Accepted April 15 2004)


c1 *Corresponding author: fax +1 418 656 5877, email