Archive for August 3rd, 2007

The Protective Effect of Mediterranian Diet

August 3, 2007

imagesafg.jpgA diet that’s high-fat… because of the large amounts of monounsaturated fatty-acid-rich olive oil used in Mediterranean cultures—may be a useful tool against blocking of the arteries, particularly in individuals at high risk of developing heart disease.

A new study looking at High Mononunsaturated Fat( MUFA) diet has finally proven the proponents of this diet to be protective was recently published in the June 11, 2007 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Interventions: Participants were assigned to a low-fat diet (n = 257) or to 1 of 2 Mediterranean diets. Those allocated to Mediterranean diets received nutritional education and either free virgin olive oil, 1 liter per week (n = 257), or free nuts, 30 g/d (n = 258). The authors evaluated outcome changes at 3 months.

Results:  Compared with the low-fat diet, the 2 Mediterranean diets produced beneficial changes in most outcomes. Compared with the low-fat diet, the mean changes in the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group and the Mediterranean diet with nuts group were –0.39 mmol/L (95% CI, –0.70 to – 0.07 mmol/L) and – 0.30 mmol/L (CI, –0.58 to – 0.01 mmol/L), respectively, for plasma glucose levels; –5.9 mm Hg (CI, –8.7 to –3.1 mm Hg) and – 7.1 mm Hg (CI, –10.0 to –4.1 mm Hg), respectively, for systolic blood pressure; and –0.38 (CI, –0.55 to – 0.22) and – 0.26 (CI, –0.42 to –0.10), respectively, for the cholesterol–high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio. The Mediterranean diet with olive oil reduced C-reactive protein levels by 0.54 mg/L (CI, 1.04 to 0.03 mg/L) compared with the low-fat diet.

 Conclusion: Compared with a low-fat diet, Mediterranean diets supplemented with olive oil or nuts have beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors.

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In short… participants in the two Mediterranean-diet groups had significantly lower mean plasma glucose levels, lower systolic blood pressure, and lower total-cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol ratios than those in the low-fat-diet group… which may explain the protective effects of this diet to develop heart disease.  

So what diet Do I recommend to my Patients? 

Ive been proponent of a 40% of total calorie diet to be from fat with 20% of total calories from MUFA.  Ive been pretty successful with this diet in terms of regulating my patients Blood sugar and lipids while maintaining their weight!  This study really proves me right. 

You will not go wrong having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and supplemented with virgin olive oil and nuts…it’s a diet proven to  improve cholesterol ratios and the effects on blood pressure and inflammation.   One option to Olive oil that we can use daily in our cooking is Canola Oil which is also rich in MUFA and PUFA.  Likewise taking walnuts or cashew nuts for snacks as healthy alternatives to burgers and fries!

As The Saying Goes…GO NUTS!

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