Study Finds Benefits in Mediterranean Way of Eating


| 7/7/2016 4:38:16 AM


Tags: healthy families, nutrition, disease prevention, olive oil, Eleni Roumeliotou, Spain,

PREDIMED is a Spanish study (recruited almost 7,500 high-risk participants) that was designed to assess two variations of the Mediterranean diet, based either in extra virgin olive oil or nuts.

These two types of Mediterranean diet were compared to a low-fat diet, which is the standard recommendation for people at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The main targets of the study were to find out how many of the participants would suffer from serious cardiovascular conditions (stroke, myocardial infraction, hypertension etc) or develop diabetes (metabolic syndrome) during the study.

Essentially, the study wanted to find out whether Mediterranean diet can actually prevent any of these conditions. Participants were advised to not reduce their calories in any way or increase physical activity. The only requirements were the consumption of extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts (both supplied on a weekly basis) or reducing dietary fats respectively.

Benefits of Mediterranean Eating

Based on previously published data, the study was designed to last for 6 years. From a statistical point of view, that amount of time would be sufficient to show whether Mediterranean diet had indeed any preventive value. The results quickly showed that participants eating a Mediterranean diet enjoyed superior health benefits, which the participants in the low-fat group were increasingly missing out.

The PREDIMED study produced an impressive amount of data regarding the therapeutic and preventive value of the Mediterranean diet. Since 2013, hundreds of studies have been presenting parts of the results. Below, I am outlining two golden nuggets from this important study that highlight the importance of this specific diet for our long-term health.

Participants who complemented their diet with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, enjoyed a reduction in risk of combined heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular disease by 30 percent and 28 percent respectively. In the graph below (taken from Estruch et al., 2013), we can clearly see that as years pass, the difference in risk between the people who followed a Mediterranean diet and the low-fat group is gradually increasing.

dsmith
7/11/2016 11:23:11 AM

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