CVD are the main cause of death especially in high-income countries. Previously, research focused on single nutrients including saturated and MUFA, sodium and dietary fibre, or specific foods such as fish, fruit and vegetables, and olive oil, in the aetiology of CVD. In recent years, however, the effects of complete dietary patterns on the prevention of CVD have gained interest, to account for diet heterogeneity and food–nutrient interactions. Several dietary patterns have been investigated, such as the Paleolithic diet, the vegetarian and vegan diets, the Diet Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), the Nordic and Mediterranean diets, with many contradictions remaining. The aim of this review is to give an overview of the effects of these dietary patterns on CVD risk, to discuss their overall nutrient adequacy and briefly discuss their environmental impact.