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