You have probably heard of Predimed study. It was an extraordinary study which cemented the benefits of Mediterranean diet. One of the principal investigators, professor Jordi Salas-Salvadó kindly answered some questions I had on my mind regarding the Study.
Jordi Salas-Salvadó works as a professor of nutrition and director of human nutrition unit at Rovira i Virgili University, Reus, Spain.
Reijo Laatikainen: First of all, congratulations for the great results and being able to carry out such a huge study successfully! Is the research team happy with the results?
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A large Spanish randomized controlled trial on Mediterranean diet cemented the cardiovascular benefits of Mediterranean diet pattern. Mediterranean diet, supplemented either with extra virgin olive oil or nuts, reduced the risk of by cardiovascular events by 30 % in people already treated with many drugs, like statins. The control diet was lower in fat and higher in carbohydrates and also relatively low in saturated fat. The control group did not manage to reduce the fat intake as targeted, but this is not unusual. In many long term trials, like in WHI, DPS and DPP studies fat reduction was much less than intented. Majority of the middle aged or elderly western people are not able to reduce fat content of their diet substantially. (Yes, of course some can, and those who can are likely to do well on very low fat plant based diet.)
The control diet also contained relatively much fruit and vegetables. The amount of red and processed meat was rather low when compared to usual western diets. Bearing these facts in mind, the favourable outcomes of Mediterranean diet are even more striking. More data on cognition, cancer and risk factors are expected later.
After 40 years of its ending, the main results of Sydney Diet Heart Study are finally published. This is the only published randomized trial where saturated fat based diet outperfoms PUFA based diet in terms of coronary heart disease deaths. However, the modern margarines, canola oil, flax seed oil and nuts are healthy. Read the slides for details and understanding why the results should be interpreted with care.
In the last post I elaborated on the dietary factors that are linked to weight management in long term. Nuts seemed to protect from weight gain. Nuts are packed with calories; so: how is this possible? This slide deck summarizes the scientific evidence in humans.