“The Mediterranean diet can be described as a dietary pattern characterized by the high consumption of plant-based foods, olive oil as the main source of fat, low-to-moderate consumption of fish, dairy products and poultry, low consumption of red and processed meat, and low-to-moderate consumption of wine with meals. The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend Mediterranean diet for improving glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes. Prospective studies show that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a 20-23 % reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while the results of randomized controlled trials show that Mediterranean diet reduces glycosylated hemoglobin levels by 0.30-0.47 %, and is also associated with a 28-30 % reduced risk for cardiovascular events.”
Category Archives: Health Benefits
Telomeres are very trendy in the biomedical research community. Like kale and chia seeds with hipster foodies.
Telomeres are repetitive chains of amino acids attached to strands of your DNA. The longer your telomeres, the lower your risk of chronic disease and premature death, generally speaking.
The massive Nurses Health Study showed that women who ate a Mediterranean-style diet had the longer telomeres, which is good. That fits with other evidence of greater longevity and lower chronic disease rates in Mediterranean dieters.
Click for a brief pertinent article at NEJM Journal Watch, which includes a link to the original research report.
To lose weight with the Mediterranean diet, check out my book, Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes: The Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet.
Steve Parker, M.D.
PPS: We don’t know if telomeres are longer in men eating Mediterranean-style
The American Journal of Medicine has an article entitled “Diets to Prevent Coronary Heart Disease 1957- 2013: What Have We Learned?” The authors conclude:
The Mediterranean-style diet, with a focus on vegetables, fruit, fish, whole grains and olive oil, has proven to reduce cardiovascular events to a degree greater than low fat diets, and equal to or greater than the benefit observed in statin trials.
The only bone I’ll pick with that quote today is that folks with diabetes and prediabetes often have unacceptable blood sugar spikes when they eat whole grains. That’s one reason I designed the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet.
Well, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. Preserved brain function and the Mediterranean diet were positively associated in a study involving Americans in Utah. This fits with prior observations that the Mediterranean diet prevents dementia.
In the study at hand, the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) also protected the brain:
Higher levels of compliance with both the DASH and Mediterranean dietary patterns were associated with consistently higher levels of cognitive function in elderly men and women over an 11-y period. Whole grains and nuts and legumes were positively associated with higher cognitive functions and may be core neuroprotective foods common to various healthy plant-centered diets around the globe.
We’ve known for years that the Mediterranean diet helps prolong life and prevent cancer, heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and strokes in folks who start out healthy.
What about patients with existing cardiovascular disease? I’m talking about history of heart attacks, strokes, angina, and coronary artery disease.
Yep. The Mediterranean diet helps them live longer, too.
Details of the study are at the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The research was done at Harvard.
The findings suggest that eliminating or strictly limiting high glycemic load foods such as those high in refined sugars and grains and following the largely plant-based Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes, can have a significant impact on diabetes risk, La Vecchia said.
“The impact of the diets was synergistic,” he told MedPage Today. “The message is that eating a largely Mediterranean diet that is also low in glycemic load is particularly favorable for preventing diabetes.”
Canadian Study Finds Abdominal Obesity Health Markers Much Improved With Mediterranean Diet and High-Intensity Interval Training
…according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Some quotes:
The study found an average reduction in waist circumference of eight centimeters, a reduction in systolic blood pressure of 6 mm Hg and an aerobic fitness improvement of 15 per cent over the first nine months of the study.
Improvements in waist circumference, blood pressure and fitness can lead to numerous other health benefits including a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure, as well as improving osteoarthritis symptoms, quality of life, physical functioning, and cognition.