While we often hear and assume that a low-fat diet is bet­ter for you when it comes to heart dis­ease, a closer look at the evi­dence sug­gests that a Mediterranean-style diet which has mod­er­ate fat lev­els mainly from olive oil, pro­vides more pro­tec­tion for the heart.

A new study that ana­lyzed research from 1957 until now, found more evi­dence that a whole-diet, and par­tic­u­larly the Mediterranean diet, resulted in greater reduc­tion of death due to heart dis­ease and heart attacks than a low-fat diet.

The inves­ti­ga­tors from the University of Arizona and Northwestern University found that, although a low-fat diet may lower cho­les­terol lev­els, it did not appear to lower the risk of heart attacks and deaths from coro­nary heart dis­ease.

They con­cluded that the last fifty years of epi­demi­ol­ogy and clin­i­cal tri­als have estab­lished a clear link between diet, ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis and car­dio­vas­cu­lar events and a that “whole diet” approach of the Mediterranean diet is more effec­tive in pre­vent­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease than a low-fat, low cho­les­terol diet. The authors noted that encour­ag­ing the con­sump­tion of olive oil over but­ter and cream, while increas­ing the amount of veg­eta­bles, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and fish, promises to be more effec­tive.

Apart from the much-pub­li­cized PREDIMED study which showed that a Mediterranean-style diet was more effec­tive in reduc­ing the risk of heart attack and stroke by 30 per­cent com­pared to a low-fat diet, yet another analy­sis pub­lished in the American Journal of Medicine in 2011, con­ducted by a group of researchers from the U.S., Spain, Switzerland, Israel and Canada, also con­cluded that a Mediterranean diet appeared to be more effec­tive than low-fat diets in gen­er­at­ing pos­i­tive long-term changes in car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk fac­tors.

The researchers included in their analy­sis only ran­dom­ized, con­trolled tri­als com­par­ing Mediterranean to low-fat diets in over­weight or obese indi­vid­u­als, with a min­i­mum fol­low-up of six months.

The results of their analy­sis showed that fol­low­ing a Mediterranean diet resulted in more favor­able changes in body weight, body mass index, sys­tolic blood pres­sure, dias­tolic blood pres­sure and glu­cose lev­els com­pared to low-fat diets.



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