What is the Mediterranean Diet? The diet has you eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, legumes, extra virgin olive oil, and red wine in moderation. Animal-based foods, particularly dairy and red meat, are limited but not strictly prohibited (except for purists.) And, based on an entirely different study, I would also throw the use of more vinegar (e.g. balsamic vinegar) into the daily diet for it's positive effects on blood sugar control.
There are four very important health insights I get out of this study:
- A diet (e.g. Mediterranean) with GOOD fats (i.e. vegetable/plant based fats) is a qualitatively better diet than a restrictive low-fat diet. The reason for this is at least three-fold. A. The people in the control group dropped out at a much higher rate than the other participants (11.3% to 4.9%.) Low-fat, calorie-restricting diets are difficult and do not lead to long-term lifestyle changes. B. Good fats cause a meal to feel more complete, i.e. the meal is more satisfying, satiety is increased. C. Presence of good fats reduces the feelings of deprivation often created by a calorie-restricting low-fat diet.
- The Mediterranean Diet is more about healthy (largely plant-based) food content than it is about calories. Calories were not restricted or monitored for those in the study groups.
- ALL these participants had diabetes and other significant risks for cardiovascular disease. In spite of their elevated risks, the Mediterranean diet gave the people a 30% improved chance for a longer life.
- This study involved no exercise of any kind and they still saw a 30% reduction in heart attack/stroke risks. What would the reduction be if they had also been exercising - even modestly?
Nature Words for your health--