Muscle Building Mediterranean Diet – Home / Blog / Guides / Is the Mediterranean diet as good as they say? Answers by science
Why are wealthy middle-aged businessmen in Minnesota more likely to die of heart disease than poor villagers in Italy?
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Until now, most researchers believed that heart disease was part of the aging process — the result of DNA damage, not your diet or exercise habits.
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But then there were these remote villages in southern Italy that had the world’s highest rates of centenarians and the lowest rates of heart disease, even though they were inhabited by people genetically similar to American men.
For example, Case found that cardiovascular disease declined in food-starved regions of post-war Europe along with the food supply, a seemingly unrelated relationship.
As the evidence grew, Case became convinced that diet was an important factor in heart disease risk, and to test his hypothesis, he conducted a large-scale study—what would become his magnum opus.
A 1958 seven-country study collected data from 12,763 men from Finland, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Japan, the United States, and the Netherlands.
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The aim was to analyze dietary patterns for heart disease and mortality among men from different regions.
While the most popular finding is the link between saturated fat intake, cholesterol levels and heart disease, another important finding is the increased risk of heart disease and early death among people on the so-called “Mediterranean diet.”
Specifically, these heart-healthy people ate less saturated fat and cholesterol, and more fruits, vegetables, legumes, seafood, and olive oil than their world’s healthiest counterparts.
Interest in this diet increased in the 1970s with the best-selling books by Case and his wife.
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Its legacy lives on—seven studies are still ongoing, and the Mediterranean diet became the foundation of the food pyramid in the United States and official dietary recommendations around the world.
Proponents of the diet say it can reduce the risk of all illnesses and diseases. . .
Long story short – the Mediterranean diet is popular among scientists, doctors and moderate dieters alike: it’s a very healthy way of eating.
Contents What is the Mediterranean diet like? Why do people follow the Mediterranean diet? Can the Mediterranean diet prevent heart disease? Can the Mediterranean Diet Prevent Type 2 Diabetes? Can the Mediterranean diet help you lose weight? Can the Mediterranean Diet Help You Live Longer? The bottom line of the Mediterranean diet.
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The Mediterranean diet is based on the way people eat in several Mediterranean countries, especially Italy and Greece.
The researchers collected data from both of these countries for a seven-country study and found that their diets revolved mostly around whole grains, olive oil and wine, with varying amounts and varieties of seafood, beans and fruit.
In 1993, the Harvard School of Public Health and a non-profit organization called Oldways supported Key’s work by publishing a Mediterranean-style food pyramid:
Another important factor that many Mediterranean dieters emphasize is sharing food with friends and family without technological distractions such as smartphones, TVs and computers. In other words, “conscious” eating.
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“Eat smart” might sound a little dreary to you, but it was a common name among all cultures in the seven-culture study that had longevity and good health.
Additionally, research shows that reminding yourself to be mindful when eating, especially with family, can help people eat more mindfully, reduce stress, and reduce the risk of bad behaviors like smoking, drug addiction, and crime.
Many proponents of the Mediterranean diet also emphasize the importance of portion control, another common practice among the different cultures analyzed in the seven-country study.
For example, Japan has a tradition of eating until people are full, but not too full, and most other countries follow similar rules of thumb.
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There are no official macronutrient guidelines for the Mediterranean diet, but for the most part it works like this:
The Mediterranean diet is also often marketed as a weight-loss diet, and while many people lose weight on it initially, it’s usually not a long-term weight-loss strategy (more on that soon).
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The main reason people follow the Mediterranean diet is because of its early history of reducing heart disease.
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Research shows it can do this and more, including reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes and dementia.
During the obesity boom of the 90s, the Mediterranean diet was also touted as an effective weight loss protocol.
Below, however, since the Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with “heart health,” let’s examine its relationship to heart disease.
To answer that question, let’s look at the results of the study that started it all: the Seven Country Study.
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To understand why, you must first understand that we knew very little about nutrition and health when this study was conducted.
Although we now accept that there is a link between diet and long-term health, this was a controversial theory in the late 1950s.
People generally ate what they could, preferred, allowed, and didn’t think much about the long-term consequences of their dietary habits.
Keys suspected that what we eat has a big impact on our health and well-being, which led him to conduct a study in seven countries — the first multi-year study on diet and health and the largest to look at the relationship between diet and health. the heart. disease, and remains one of the world’s longest studies of human health.
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For example, he developed the K-ration, one of the earliest versions of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) used by all branches of the armed forces during World War I, the most extreme study of human metabolism. Minnesota Starvation Experiment, and he oversaw some of the earliest experiments on how the human body responds to changes in altitude.
Because of the honesty of the keynote speakers and the extraordinary scope and rigor of the study in seven countries, its results have caused a stir in the scientific community.
At the time, many experts assumed that the relationship between dietary cholesterol intake and blood cholesterol levels was causal, formulating the so-called “diet-heart hypothesis.”
It was such a clever idea that the keys were left behind, and it soon became official policy in many countries, including the United States.
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We now know the nuances between dietary fat intake and heart disease.
For example, Keys was right because there is a link between blood cholesterol levels and heart disease, but in most people, eating cholesterol and saturated fat does not usually raise blood cholesterol levels or heart disease.
Since Case first published his data, a long line of scientists have used such contradictions as a ploy to personally enrich Case’s crusade against fraud and dietary fat.
Its most vocal detractors are a new breed of high-fat diet gurus like Gary Tubes, who argue that Keys and his research epitomize everything that is wrong with nutritional science.
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Yes, the seven-country study was imperfect and Keys inflated some of the results, but it’s more true than false. Keys recognized him in a 1961 Time Magazine article.
However, the following is Case’s take-home advice: “…eat less fatty meats, eggs and dairy products. Spend more time on foods such as fish, chicken, veal liver, Canadian sausage, Italian food, Chinese food, fresh fruit, vegetables and poultry. .. No one wants to live on mushrooms. But low-fat diets can provide endless variety and aesthetic satisfaction to the fastest, if not the most gluttonous, among us.”
In other words, it offers a fairly balanced, mostly plant-based diet with more fish than meat and more saturated fat than saturated fat—almost the recipe for a high-end diet that can lead to fame and fortune.
One of the most common criticisms of Case’s work is that he chose the seven countries he chose to study. In particular, he is often said to have collected data from 22 countries, but chose to use data from 7 that fit his predictions.
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It’s true that Keys didn’t factor all the data into the final score, but to say it was due to foul play is a stretch.
It is not uncommon for researchers to exclude certain information from the results of a study, as there are often good reasons for doing so.
For example, Keys excluded certain countries because their diets deviated too much from the Mediterranean diet, which would have made it difficult.
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