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Thread: The Mediterranean diet study page

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    Rob from NJ's Avatar
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    The Mediterranean diet study

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    I had a few people approach me yesterday and comment that The Mediterranean diet sounded pretty similar to eating Primal/Paleo but they pointed out that the entire base of the pyramid is grains. The MSM is touting the findings of the recent study all over which I guess is good because it does show that a high fat diet was more beneficial for heart health than a low fat diet. I found a past study that Robb Wolf blogged on where The Mediterranean diet was compared to a Paleo one and (obviously) Paleo was better...maybe the proper rebuttal is that The Mediterranean diet is better than a low fat diet (with grains) but not as good as being Primal/Paleo (grain free)?...any thoughts...
    Last edited by Rob from NJ; 02-26-2013 at 06:19 AM.

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    The "Mediterranean Diet" is based on several premises.

    1. This is how people in that region normally eat.
    It's not. The "diet" the original data was based on involved poor people without access to a variety of foods. They lost weight, yes. But as soon as they got money, they started to buy meat and eat it.

    2. All people living in that area eat in the same way.
    They don't. There are regional cuisines with a huge variation in what they eat.

    This study, if it's the one I think you are talking about, compares diets and lifestyles that are different in every way, and then attempts to assign the difference in outcome to a single factor. The people in the "control" group were actually totally uncontrolled.

    The "Mediterranean Diet" is designed for upper middle class Americans. It has eliminated things they don't normally eat, and added stuff they wouldn't be without. People living on the Mediterranean really don't eat like that.

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    anna5's Avatar
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    Good comment, Katherine, however, it has been probably more complicated with meat.
    I would add two other factors which are important but are usually ignored - climate and stress.
    Last edited by anna5; 02-26-2013 at 07:32 AM.

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    They just mentioned this in a report on ABC news last night. The generalizations of the "diet" are absolutely ridiculous. I definitely agree with the foods mentioned as being healthy - plant-based oils, seafood, vegetables, etc. - but as a previous commenter mentioned, not everyone in the Mediterranean eat this way! There's plenty of lamb, chicken, and even beef being eaten (even though the "diet" apparently says no to red meat)!

    I did enjoy that they reported how there's no need to fear fat.
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    Graycat's Avatar
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    I thought lamb is a staple in the actual Mediterranean diet?

    The whole so called "Mediterranean diet" simply doesn't make sense.

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    eKatherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graycat View Post
    I thought lamb is a staple in the actual Mediterranean diet?

    The whole so called "Mediterranean diet" simply doesn't make sense.
    It makes sense to the same people who think that "Asians are more healthy" because "they eat the Asian diet".

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    I saw a little blurb about it on the news last night and the announcer said fruits and vegetables, olive oil, seafood and something else but didn't even mention the grains and legumes most people insist on saying is the basis Mediterranean diet.

    There are a lot of different diets in the region, you know. Egyptian food is Mediterranean. So is Moroccan, Greek, Spanish. People over there eat lamb and pork, beef and mutton and all sorts of things, plus many of these cuisines are really quite oily and fatty.
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    I think The Mediterranean Diet, as opposed to what people in the Mediterranean region actually eat, is trying to not-so-subtly guide people towards reducing red meat and saturated fats, and to replace them with MUFAs and PUFAs via olive oil, nuts, and fish. As others have noted, this agenda-driven dietary guideline bears little resemblance to the diversity of eating in the area.

    Right off, the newest study from Spain is based on respondents reporting on what they've eaten over the past year, for several years, and this sort of study design has been shown to be wildly inaccurate. Secondly, adherence to a "low-fat" regiment was admittedly poor. And then of course, there were only "low fat," "low fat with olive oil added in," and "low fat with nuts added in." No studies contrasting how people in the area who included red meat, or a more broad-spectrum diet of foods would compare to the groups studied.

    And even if the study concluded that CVD was reduced, all-cause mortality was the same for all groups.

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    BestBetter's Avatar
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    There are thousands of different diets around the world based on what people have access to locally. As time passes, I'm realizing it's really silly to think that there is one 'right' way of eating.

    Who is to say that people can't thrive on a 'Mediterranean Diet' especially if their commercial food supply isn't poisoned by HFCS, GMO, chemical preservatives, and deep-fried in trans fats? A typical low-carb meal at an American Diner (eggs from soy-fed hormone-pumped chickens fried in corn or soybean oil with a side of GMO-feedlot bacon) is probably way more detrimental than some locally grown legumes or pasta.

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    Not only what the people in southern europe eat but also how they are timing their eating can be relevant. In general they seem to eat very light throughout the day and a rather huge dinner at night together with their family and friends. Maybe that can explain something as well...

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