Health

Mediterranean Diet, Heavy on the Olive Oil, Can Reduce Risk of Chronic Disease

A Mediterranean diet with no restriction on fat intake may be associated with reduced incidence of cardiovascular events, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Jul. 18, 2016
By Elena Paravantes

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Accord­ing to a new review con­ducted by researchers in the U.S., a Mediter­ranean diet with no restric­tion of good fats like olive oil was asso­ci­ated with a lower risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, breast can­cer, and type 2 dia­betes.

The review and meta-analy­sis gath­ered data from Ovid Med­line, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library from 1990 through April 2016.
See more: Olive Oil Health Ben­e­fits
The review­ers iso­lated and ana­lyzed 90 papers that met all the inclu­sion cri­te­ria. The pur­pose of the study was to sum­ma­rize the lit­er­a­ture com­par­ing a Mediter­ranean diet with unre­stricted fat intake with other diets regard­ing their effects on health out­comes in adults.

After ana­lyz­ing the data, the results showed that a Mediter­ranean diet with no restric­tion on fat intake may be asso­ci­ated with reduced inci­dence of car­dio­vas­cu­lar events, breast can­cer, and type 2 dia­betes mel­li­tus com­pared with any other diet.

Obser­va­tional data also revealed that total can­cer inci­dence and mor­tal­ity, and col­orec­tal and lung can­cer inci­dence, were lower in per­sons with the high­est adher­ence to the Mediter­ranean diet com­pared with those with the low­est adher­ence.

Inter­est­ingly, researchers included in the def­i­n­i­tion of the diet an unlim­ited intake of fat. I think the main mes­sage of the study is that adher­ence to a Mediter­ranean diet can result in decrease in car­dio­vas­cu­lar events and can­cers and that the diet does not have to be low in fat,” said Hanna Bloom­field, the lead researcher and pro­fes­sor of med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota School of Med­i­cine.

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Recent stud­ies have shown that a low-fat diet may not be the best choice for pre­ven­tion of chronic dis­ease but also for weight loss. The mes­sage for decades to con­sumers and patients has been that low-fat diets are health­ier when, in fact, research is show­ing quite the oppo­site, espe­cially when the fat is healthy fat.

If you’re try­ing to eat a healthy diet, one of the impor­tant things you should do is include olive oil as your main cook­ing oil or salad oil and eat a lot of fruits and veg­eta­bles of dif­fer­ent col­ors,” Bloom­field added.

The authors noted that the ben­e­fits of a diet that did not restrict healthy fats can lead to a new focus on the role of fat and dietary health.



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