Monday, August 14, 2006

Mediterranean Diet Better than Low Fat Diet?

Are you tired of the food pyramid? I know I am, but let's consider it one more time. We know that people in the Mediterranean have a lower death rate from heart disease than people in the developed countries of the West.

Is the Mediterranean diet responsible for the lower cardiac related death rates in that part of the world?
A recent study found that patients on a Mediterranean diet had a more significant reduction in their blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels than those who were on a more traditional low-fat diet.
A Mediterranean diet has large amounts of olive oil, nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. It includes a larger amount of fat, but these are the unsaturated or "healthy" fats. In this study, 770 adults with diabetes or 3 or more other risk factors for heart disease were divided into three groups. One group had more olive oil in the diet, another had more nuts in the diet, and the third had a low amount of all fats. After 3 months, the first 2 groups had lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels than the group that was on the low fat diet. They were also able to maintain the diet better than the low-fat group.

Bottom line: if you can't be in the Mediterranean, you may want to consider eating as if you were in the Mediterranean. Although this study does not address the effect of the diet on lower cardiac death rates, it does indicate that the diet may reduce the risk factors for heart disease.
Other factors that may contribute to a lower heart disease in that region are more physical activity and a better social support network.

Reference: Annals of Internal Medicine 4 July 2006 Volume 145 Issue 1 Pages 1-11.
Photo: courtesy of Mediterranean Meals.
To read this in Farsi, click here.

16 comments:

حجت said...

دکتر رضوی عزیز،
خبری درباره فعالیت شما در موسسه گوگل و سوابق شما، در چند وب‌سایت درج شد که باعث شده خیلی از ما هم‌وطنان، به دیدن وبلاگ شما بیاییم.
اولاً برای ما ایرانیان باعث افتخار هستید.
در ثانی، از محتوای وبلاگ شما هم خیلی لذت بردم.
موفق باشید

Alissa said...

Sounds interesting...might just try it sometime.

Haleh said...

Hi Taraneh,

I have been following the GI way of eating for quite a while now and I have to say it has done me wonders. I have more energy than ever and managed to lose weight as well with no dieting whatsoever. What's your opinion on that? Americans being avid supporters of Dr Atkins diet have not been too charitable about the GI diet so far. I have to say, the idea of not being able to eat carbs in healthy quantities terrifies me as, after all, we are a bunch of Middle Eastern rice eaters. I’ll leave their links here in case you haven't seen them already.

http://glycemicindex.com.au/
http://ginews.blogspot.com/

Take care and thanks for you great posts.

criticus said...

Que sonrisa mas bonita tiene esta chica.

Thanks for your posts, wine it´s also important in mediterranean diet and some say it´s cardio-healthy...

Pablo, Spain

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

Hi Criticus

You are right, moderate wine inake is included in the diet. It shows it on the pyramid but it's a bit blurry.

By the way the people in the mentioned study were all from Spain.

Anonymous said...

Do you think bird flu is going to be a problem ?

I heard it would hit USA & Canada this fall.

Is there anything to the bird flu panic ?

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

Hi Haleh

The low glycemic index diet definitely has its benefits. It does incorporate some of the principles of the Mediterranean diet which includes complex carbohydratres instead of simple ones. I often suggest it to my patients who have sugar levels that are on the higher end of normal.
It's great that it's working for you.
I agree that the Atkins diet is tough to maintain long term.

Dr. Taraneh Razavi said...

I wrote on the bird flu almost a year ago when there was even more of a panic in the media. I was trying to put things in perspective. Since this blog http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/bird-flu-basics.html
there has been some progression of the virus into other non-Asian countries, but over all the concern about its spread may be a bit less than back then. Regardless, you will be happy to know that progress has been made in vaccine development (see blog on flu vaccine)in case the virus does create a pandemic.

farhad afshar said...

سلام
باعث افتخار ما هستید
یک ایرانی در قلب تهران
www.kook.ir

Anonymous said...

I am a believer! Taraneh was my internist for several years until I left the area, and I have to say she is amazing. When I first saw her, I had mystery ailments from persistent nausea to fatigue to high cholesterol. All this despite my being 27 years old, 5'4" + 98 lbs. with a no-fat diet, rigorous daily workouts, and low blood pressure. She zeroed in on diet fairly early on, and put me on a nutrition plan similar to the diet described here. The result after only 6 months: calm stomach, lots of energy, and normal cholesterol. While the article doesn't really claim to address those issues, a similar diet and Dr. Razavi made me one healthy person! Thanks Taraneh :)

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Anonymous said...

I agree that Mediterranean diet is really good thing! Cause you eat healthy calorie on this diet!

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Thanks!!!

Dionis:
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