The Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet that is not necessarily low-fat. It is low in omega-6 fatty acids and high in omega-3 fatty acids (olive oil). The use of herbs and spices in place of salt for seasoning makes the food more flavorful. Combined with 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, one gets plenty of nutrients from the diet. Red meat is eaten maybe twice a week as is fish, such as mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies. Eggs and poultry are eaten frequently but less than in an American diet. Wine or alcohol is common consumed with food. Mealtimes occur in a social setting with family and friends, which creates an excellent atmosphere. The diet is associated with lower rates of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.
A recent Review in The American Journal of Medicine (April 2016) as above evaluated MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane libraries for randomized controlled studies of trials showing the effects of a Mediterranean diet with more than 12 months follow-up. Five RCT’s (998=n) were found and evaluated and compared the Mediterranean diet to a low-fat diet, a low carbohydrate diet, and an American Diabetes Association diet.
The Mediterranean diet resulted in a greater weight loss (4 to 10 Kg) when compared to a low-fat diet (3 to 5 kg loss), but produced similar weight loss at 12 months compared with the other diets.
The Mediterranean diet was found to be similar to the other diets in terms of cardiovascular risk factor levels, including blood pressure and lipid levels as well.
- The Mediterranean diet has been found to work better than a low-fat diet based on this analysis. It also produced greater improvements in triglyceride levels but similar changes in other lipids and blood pressure. Likewise, the Mediterranean diet was better at improving glycemic (blood-sugar) control in diabetics ( but not non-diabetics).
- There is no ideal diet for achieving sustained weight loss in overweight or obese individuals.
Long-Term Effects of 4 Popular Diets on Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors << This study reviewed the Atkins, Weight Watchers, and the Zone, and demonstrated that all produced similar weight loss at 12 months and beyond. There is no demonstrable problem with the carbohydrate load in a Mediterranean diet, and the similar weight loss among these diets suggests no optimal macronutrient composition to sustain weight loss.
Weight loss strategies for treatment of obesity. << There needs to be a three step approach to treating obesity and weight loss. First, life-style modification through diet, behavioral therapy, and physical activity need to occur.
Weight loss is increased with the addition of exercise – physical activity and dieting added together give greater increments of weight loss than dieting alone. The references below include links to evidence for this:
Bottom line is that physical activity alone is unlikely to yield significant weight loss unless it is added to a calorie-restricted diet.
After these two components of exercise and low-calorie dieting, one then adds pharmacochotherapies. The final component is bariatric surgery for those who do not achieve goals and are of sufficiently high BMI and comorbidities.
Mediterranean diet pyramid today. Science and cultural updates << The Mediterranean diet is composed of fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals, fruits, ad olive oil based food. The origins of the diet were Middle Eastern and ‘biblical’ in their origins: >> The Middle Eastern and biblical origins of the Mediterranean diet
Mediterranean Diet – From a Healthy Diet to a Sustainable Dietary Pattern < the diet is composed of a tasteful selection of foods designed for a sustainable lifestyle.
Natural Resources – Food Nexus Food-Related Environmental Footprints in the Mediterranean Countries << – Soon it will be hard to eat a ‘true’ Mediterranean diet due to environmental changes!
Importance of functional foods in the Mediterranean diet <<< Numerous food types play an important role in the Mediterranean diet
Nutrition and lifestyle in healthy aging the telomerase challenge << Nutrition that is done correctly may improve our life-spans and quality.
The Mediterranean Diet, its Components, and Cardiovascular disease << there is plenty of evidence demonstrating the decreased cardiovascular disease with the Mediterranean diet (The Seven Countries study)
There is also a decreased risk of breast cancer by following a Mediterranean diet: Mediterranean Diet and Invasive Breast Cancer Risk Among Women at High Cardiovascular Risk in the PREDIMED Trial as well as the metabolic syndrome: Adherence to Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome a 6-year prospective study.
Sticking to the Mediterranean diet decreases the chances of metabolic syndrome by 50% [Adherence to Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome a 6-year prospective study.], decreases mortality over 20 years [ Mediterranean diet and other lifestyle factors in relation to 20-year all-cause mortality a cohort study in an Italian population] , and healthier markers of aging [ Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses’ Health Study_ population based cohort study 1]
The PREDIMED RCT showed, using 7447 individuals, that the Mediterranean diet that is supplemented with nuts or olive oil relative to a low-fat diet will decrease the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, or cardiovascular death. —> Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean diet and Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet Insights From the PREDIMED Study.
Other benefits of the diet include decreased inflammation and coagulation disorders [Adherence to the Mediterranean diet attenuates inflammation and coagulation process in healthy adults – ATTICA study] as well as Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome improvement, lower blood pressure, decreased atrial fibrillation rates, and decreased peripheral arterial disease. Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet Insights From the predimed study
Obesity as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease a 26-year follow-up of participants in the Framingham Heart Study. << The bottom line is adherence is critical to have the benefits of any diet, including the Mediterranean diet!