Tag Archives: mediterranean diet

Mediterranean diet linked to lower risk of heart attack, stroke

(CNN)The list of Mediterranean diet benefits is getting even longer. A new study found that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish and unrefined foods is linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke in people who have heart disease.

The latest research builds on previous evidence that your health might benefit if you follow the Mediterranean diet. It can help your bones, keep your brain young, help you live longer, manage your weight better (PDF) and lower your risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
    The current study examined more than 15,000 people in 39 countries around the world, all with stable heart disease and an average age of 67. Researchers asked about their diet, including how many times a week they consumed servings from food groups such as meat, fish, dairy, whole grains or refined grains, vegetables, fruit, desserts, sweets, sugary drinks, deep-fried foods and alcohol. Participants were given a “Mediterranean diet score,” based on consumption of healthy foods, or a “Western diet score,” based on consumption of unhealthy foods.
    Drayer said the Mediterranean diet is consistent with the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines and other diets, such as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which have proved to be protective in terms of disease prevention. She recommends including foods from the Mediterranean diet, such as salmon, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and even a glass of wine, to keep our hearts healthy.
    “The diet has proven itself, and it behooves every one of us to eat more fish on a regular basis, to have half of our plate filled with produce and to enjoy the occasional glass of wine,” she said. “And the more consistent you are with this type of diet, the more impact it has on your health.”

    Study isn’t a ‘green light’ for unhealthy foods

    The researchers also found that consuming a Western diet did not increase the risk of cardiovascular events. Stewart said this is surprising because such a diet includes foods known to increase the risk of obesity.
    Although the study didn’t find an association with the Western diet, Drayer said it’s still important to limit processed and fried foods, since they’ve been shown to increase weight gain, cholesterol and heart disease risk.

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    The study does have some limitations, as it relied on people’s memories of what they ate, and the questionnaire didn’t define a serving size. The study was also part of a drug trial, but the findings of this study were not related to the drug.
    Stewart and Drayer both caution that these new findings don’t mean people can consume unhealthy foods without restrictions.
    “This study should not give people the green light to go ahead and eat large portions of sugary foods and beverages and deep-fried foods,” Drayer said. “But this study shows that it’s never too late to make changes in your diet, and it can be particularly beneficial to include healthy foods.”

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    High-fat Mediterranean diet, not low-fat one, is how you lose weight

    (CNN)You don’t need to be afraid of fat in food anymore, at least if it comes in the form of extra-virgin olive oil and other items from the Mediterranean diet.

    Fat is back, new research shows.
      This latest study, released Monday in the new edition of Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, does not give you free reign to chow down on pizza or to have that second dessert, but it does give you license to have that egg for breakfast if you cook it in olive oil, rather than butter, and forgo the side of bacon or toasted white bread.
      Scientists split the people into three groups; one stuck with a Mediterranean diet and was given extra-virgin olive oil donated by an olive oil company to cook their meals. Another group ate a Mediterranean diet and was given a mix of nuts by a nut company to add to their diets. Another group was advised to avoid all dietary fat. Each group was given some dietary counseling through the five years of the study. None of the groups was given advice about exercise.
      All three groups lost a little bit of weight. The group that was given the extra-virgin olive oil and ate the Mediterranean diet did the best. There was a significant weight loss at both the three- and five-year mark compared with the group eating the low-fat diet. This group lost about 2 pounds, while the low-fat group lost 1.3 pounds.
      Those who ate more nuts along with the Mediterranean diet saw a slight loss of weight after three years and what was considered a significant decrease at five years, compared with where they started, but it was not very different from the low-fat group.
      Waist size did go up slightly for all three groups. The low-fat dieters saw the biggest increase, of 1.2 centimeters (about 0.47 inches), compared with 0.85 centimeters (about 0.33 inches) for the olive oil group. The group that got extra nuts went up the least: about 0.37 centimeters (about 0.14 inches).
      The ultimate takeaway from this study was that the fat found in the Mediterranean diet — olive oil, fatty fish, nuts — isn’t bad for you at all.

      The advice doctors used to give patients about avoiding all fat in order to have a healthy heart and lose weight or maintain your weight isn’t accurate.
      This isn’t the first study to point this out. The new dietary guidelines, which are based on updated science, put no cap on fat like in past years. But some of the examples from the new guidelines offer caveats when recommending nuts or cooking with olive oil, suggesting that your intake of both be in moderation.
      Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist who wrote an editorial that accompanied the current study, suggests, based on this new research, that the guidelines should lose those caveats.
      “They don’t have caveats with fruits and vegetables but do with fat. And this study shows we should get rid of that fear of fat,” Mozaffarian said.
      Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, believes that because fat is more energy-dense and higher in calories, doctors mistakenly advocated that patients try a low-fat diet. But that, he said, oversimplified the issue.
      He points to a study he did that looked one high-fat food: cheese. It’s the food “everyone mistakenly linked to weight gain,” he said. The study found that when people replaced carbs with cheese, they didn’t gain any more weight, and they had the added benefit of a lower diabetes risk. Some cheese also has beneficial bacteria that may be good for the microbiome in your gut.

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      “A handful of nuts may be 160 calories, which is more calories than a can of Coke, but that doesn’t mean the can of Coke is a better choice,” Mozaffarian said. Salt, sugar, starch, processed food and trans fats should be off the menu, not fat. “Healthy foods are healthy foods, and bad foods are bad. It doesn’t matter if the food is low-fat or high-fat. This is a separate issue.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/06/health/fat-is-back-eat-like-a-mediterranean/index.html

      Mediterranean diet may be more helpful than statins

      (CNN)The Mediterranean diet has been credited with doing everything from helping you lose weight to living longer to improving the health of your brain. A new study, looking at its effect on people with poor heart health, shows that the diet may be a huge help for that, too.

      A lot of doctors like the diet because there are a lot of menu options with it. It even allows for a glass of wine or beer a day, allowing people to stick with it a lot easier than other diets. The new US Dietary Guidelines included the Mediterranean diet as one option Americans could use to stay healthy.
      Earlier studies showed that people eating the Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. It may lower your risk of cancer, improve your bone health and help you live longer generally.

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      Because the new study is only observational, meaning the subjects acted independently, more research will be needed. But if you have a history of heart problems or your family has had heart issues, you may want to make a switch to this diet.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/29/health/mediterranean-diet-statin-study/index.html