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Mediterranean Diet vs Low Fat Diet

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A recent study found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts may cut the risk of cardiovascular events by as much as 30% in subjects at high risk of developing heart disease, as compared with people advised to eat a reduced-fat diet.

Oil and nuts over fat restriction

Over 7000 men and women ranging in age from 55 to 80 years participated in the study. None of them had established cardiovascular disease but were at high cardiovascular risk. Subjects were divided into one of two Mediterranean diet groups (one supplemented with olive oil, the other with nuts) or to a control diet where they were advised to try to reduce dietary fat.

Patients in the Mediterranean-diet groups were invited to regular dietary training sessions; by contrast, those in the control group were, for the first three years, sent leaflets explaining a low-fat diet. At the three-year mark, low-fat-diet patients were also invited to regular group sessions and offered personalized advice at the same level of intensity as the Mediterranean groups.

The study was stopped when an analysis revealed a clear benefit among those eating the Mediterranean diets. In the olive-oil and mixed-nut Mediterranean diet groups, heart attack and stroke was reduced by approximately 30% as compared with the control group.

Of special note, subjects randomized to the Mediterranean diets were not told to reduce calories.

Good fat and bad

The Mediterranean diet is a diet healthier than others. To follow a Mediterranean diet, you should increase the intake of vegetables, fruit, nuts, fish, legumes, extra virgin olive oil. Also increase the intake of white meat and decrease the intake of red and processed meat, soft drinks, whole dairy products, commercial bakery goods, and sweets and pastries."

All in all, the study reinforced what a lot of Physicians have suspected for a long time, that is, if you consume the right kind of fat, then it is far better than simply trying to reduce your intake of bad fat!

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Dr Marasovic

Specific Areas of Interest

  • Heart failure management as it is a growing problem requiring a multidisciplinary and holistic approach.
  • Prevention and early detection of coronary heart disease.