Choosing the right diet specific to your own health can be a daunting feat. There are plenty of them out there to choose from. Or you could just eat what you like. In moderation of course. But then there are the diets that promise good health and better longevity rates. We’re in! We try these diets for months on end just to find out they are not as good as promised. Unfortunately, the story is no different here folks.
The Mediterranean Diet has been suggested for several years as one that supports heart health. Otherwise, it boasts tasty foods that are easy to prepare. Recent findings however suggest that this diet is not everything we thought it was.
Back in 2013 a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet” stating through results of this study, which included over 7000 participants per group – ‘among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.’
As you may recognize by now, we are about to dispute this result.
As one doctor wrote about the study, Dr. John McDougall states that he believes the “reason this New England Journal of Medicine study shows benefits is because the people in the Mediterranean diet group reduce(d) their intake of meat and dairy foods and increase(d) their intake of starches, cereals and legumes, vegetables and fruits.” He further notes that the “inclusion of olive oil and nuts was not a ‘magic pill’ that spared their ailing arteries from forkful(s) of bacon and eggs.”
This definitely coincides with the statement from scientists at the University of Toronto back in October of 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine Journal…”that eating more legumes helps improve glycemic control in people with [type two] diabetes, as well as lessening the risk of developing coronary heart disease.”
So, what’s the problem here? The food tastes good, it’s easy to prepare and there are studies proving positive results.
The problem is these studies are being disputed for lack of credibility. In one report it was found that there was falsehood in previous statements mentioning that “olive oil protects you from strokes and a low-fat diet is found to be not healthy or not beneficial compared to a Mediterranean diet.”
This same report further states that our original study from 2013 “only proved that replacing other fats (like butter) with olive oil and margarine is slightly better. This study, and others like it, never proved that olive oil is a healthy food in itself.”
The basics of the diet will look something like this:
- Lots of plant foods.
- Fresh fruit as a sugar substitute to other fattening sweets.
- This diet calls for a high consumption of beans, nuts and seeds. Cereals are recommended in the form of wheat, oats, barley, corn or brown rice.
- Olive oil will be your main source of dietary fat.
- Cheese and Yogurt will be your main source of dairy.
- Consumption in moderate levels of fish and poultry
- Few eggs – no more than four per week – these are high in saturated fat.
- Lower consumption levels of red meat
- Low to moderate intake of wine
The main staple to this diet is to eat more fiber, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and don’t forget exercise which is important with any diet. There are plenty of things to take into consideration. Take into consideration here that olive oil is not the only cure all in this diet.
This dispute takes place in one article in particular written by one Frederic Patenaude, author of several books relating to his influence in Raw Food and the Natural Health movement. He almost seems angry that these studies had anything good to say at all.
He writes about the control groups versus the study groups where there were a total of 288 cardiovascular events among three groups. This averages out to 96 events per group relating to the total of over 7000 individuals participating in these studies, per group! That’s a total of twenty one thousand people or more with only these several events. Like I said, the guy is angry.
Ultimately – he states that ‘the results were that risk of strokes were slightly lower in the Mediterranean diet groups, but in every group there was no significant reversal of heart disease. The authors of the study did not say necessarily which elements of the diet caused these benefits.”
Although previous reports dating back to the nineties are confident in their statements that “compared to other Western diets, the Mediterranean diet was seen by others as a bit of an enigma.” Even while fat consumption was higher – “the prevalence of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes has always been significantly lower in Mediterranean countries than northern European countries and the USA.”
The deal goes something like this, his dispute is also botched. His evidence goes on to review obesity rates throughout the world. He says the ‘countries that are considered to be eating in line with Mediterranean diets have higher obesity than other countries…”
The research he forgot was related to a post at DailyMail.com. The information presented here found that “such things as tourism, urban development, depletion of natural resources and a loss of traditional knowledge are altering the menu for the worse” – according to local experts.
These conclusions make a different impact on the changing scene of the Mediterranean style diets in Mediterranean countries. There is a further reasoning to the weight gain in these countries. They are essentially straying away from their own diet.
There is really nothing wrong with this diet. In fact, even while the studies are being disputed, there are plenty of other studies claiming benefits beyond heart health, anyway. And even as we have covered the ‘shocking truth’ here describing the newly discovered information stating that this diet is not as great as once thought, that doesn’t mean we can’t give it a chance.
Maybe you’re still interested in giving this diet a try. After all, just because it’s not a ‘magic pill’ for heart health, it’s still a healthy alternative for fat intake.
A sample menu for a Mediterranean diet for one week is as follows:
- Breakfast – Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, such as strawberries, and oats
- Lunch – A sandwich on whole grain bread with a side of vegetables
- Dinner – Tuna Salad with olive oil dressing. Choose a fruit for dessert
- Breakfast – Oatmeal with Raisins
- Lunch – Tuna Salad
- Dinner – Salad, make sure you include tomatoes, olives and feta cheese for a tasty topper
- Breakfast – Choose a piece of fruit to compliment an omelet with tomatoes, onions and other fresh vegetables
- Lunch – A sandwich on whole grain bread with cheese and fresh vegetables on the side
- Dinner – Here’s a recipe for Mediterranean Lasagna
- Breakfast – Greek Yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts
- Lunch – Those delicious leftovers from last night!
- Dinner – Lightly seasoned broiled salmon – served with brown rice and vegetables.
- Breakfast – Use olive oil to fry up your favorite vegetables with some eggs
- Lunch – Greek Yogurt with fresh fruit, oats and nuts – strawberries are recommended
- Dinner – Grilled lamb – spoil yourself with a baked potato and side salad.
- Breakfast – Oatmeal with raisins, nuts and an apple
- Lunch – A sandwich on whole grain bread with a side of fresh vegetables
- Dinner – Try a Mediterranean Pizza, the crust is made of whole wheat, top with cheese, fresh vegetables and olives
- Breakfast – Fresh vegetables and olives scrambled with eggs or in an omelet
- Lunch – More Pizza!
- Dinner – Grilled chicken. Have a side of fresh vegetables and a baked potato. Fruit for dessert
It is stated that twenty five to thirty five percent of calorie intake consists of fat and saturated fat makes up no more than eight percent of calorie intake.
Must Watch – Pros and Cons of Mediterranean Diet
Remember that a healthy diet is important for all walks of life. The truth is, any diet regimen is good for your health. Variety doesn’t hurt either. The facts are here for your review. Make your decisions based on your body and your body’s needs. Take further note to always discuss your heart health and diet with your own doctor.
What you liked the most about Mediterranean diet? If you have anymore tips, please share them in the box below!