We‘ve been gushing about the Mediterranean diet for the past few chapters, and it‘s time to learn why. Being a lifestyle, instead of a simple diet, we‘re not looking for simple short term benefits, but rather long-term benefits. Not to mention,any improvements you might see won‘t last. But what are these improvements or benefits in store for Mediterranean diet practitioners?
Weight loss and the Mediterranean Diet
For many, and perhaps even you, one of the biggest motivators for a dietary lifestyle change is having a weight loss goal. Exercise helps, but you can only tone your muscles with it. Real weight loss happens in the kitchen, or on your plate to be more precise. What you feed yourself does make a huge difference and the Mediterranean diet is here to help. But let‘s put some research to our cause!
Three studies have really highlighted the Mediterranean lifestyle thr ough their extensive research process during their examination period. All three studied the adoption of Mediterranean diet for various types of people.
Study 11 conducted by JAMA, studied the relationship between this lifestyle and metabolic rate. The results showed a rather significant difference in performance,especially when compared to a low-fat control group.
Study 2 conducted by Ann Intern Med looked at improved between the Mediterranean diet and diabetic patients who were overweight. This study w as conducted for 4 years straight and showed positive results for Mediterranean style diets.
Study 32 was conducted by The New England Journal of Medicine. This was a battle between three diet: Mediterranean, low-fat and restricted calorie diet. The result matched those of the previous two; whereby the former diet proved much more effective than the latter.
It‘s fairly clear that a Mediterranean-style diet does provide a much better environment for nurturing health and weight loss.
Heart Disease and the Mediterranean Diet
In 2013, PREDIME Study3 made headlines for its spectacular results. This was a large study with around 7447 at risk patients suffering from heart disease and continued for a period of 5 years.
They were three groups:
1. Mediterranean diet with added extra virgin oil
2. Mediterranean diet with added nuts
3. A low fat diet
There was no reduction of calories and no increase of exercise. The result? Both Mediterranean diet groups reduced the risk of stroke, heart attacks, and death from cardiovascular diseases. While the olive oil group saw a 30% drop, the nuts group wasn‘t that far behind with a 28%. What of the control low-fat diet group? It saw little to no change in risk of heart issues. This extensive study has been a solid base for the adoption of this lifestyle for heart disease patients. After all, the results are very encouraging for patients and their families.
Diabetes and the Mediterranean Diet
As with the others, there‘s been significant research when it comes to diabetes and this diet. We do have an encouraging Ann Intern Med study to support the incorporation of a Mediterranean style diet for diabetes patients.
That said, in another PREDIMED study, 418 patients who were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Only 10% of the Mediterranean diet group developed diabetes, whereas 18% of the low-fat group got diabetes. To put matters in perspectives, the Mediterranean diet helped avoid type 2 diabetes by 52%.
Cancer and the Mediterranean Diet
PREDIMED, in their effort to ensure valid research, has even studied the effects of Mediterranean nutrition and cancer. This is a disease where causalities are normally given, especially since diagnosis isn‘t always prompt. To ensure validity, around 7216 cancer patients were studied.
After the allotted 5 year period, 323 individuals had died; with 81 from heart related disease, while the rest died from cancer. The group consuming nuts showed the most significant change with around 16-63% lowered death risks through this study‘s period.
Alzheimer’s disease and the Mediterranean Diet
As with protecting and helping the heart to function properly, this diet helps to provide rich nutrients which improve brain function. Those at risk of Alzheimer‘s can see pretty significant difference in their risks tha n those who don‘t follow the Mediterranean diet. However, not all functions can be improved. Alzheimer‘s cannot be reversed, but JAMA4 has concluded Mediterranean foods can help slow cognitive decline for older adults and reduce risk of mild cognitive impairment. It even has shown good signs in reducing progression so those effected by Alzheimer‘s have more time.
Making healthy choices always pays off, and you can‘t really go wrong with this diet. It‘s easy to follow and maintain—something we‘re going to explore in the coming chapters. Making the right choice means starting to pick healthier alternatives. Let‘s explore how you can take advantage of all these benefits.