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DIET? MEDITERRANEAN!

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm

 By Marie Dufour, RD – Analyzing the data of over 23,000 men and women followed for 8.5 years by European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, researchers found that mortality dropped with tighter adherence to the Mediterranean diet (13.5% per two-unit increase on a 10-point adherence scale).

They monitored the relative intakes of alcohol intake, meat and meat products, vegetable, high fruit and nut, monounsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio, legumes, cereal and dairy consumption. In my book, that’s 8 components, and a statistical 12.5% chance for individual contribution of each element.

Here is how the micro-analysis of individual contribution to the total effect stacked up:

- Moderate alcohol intake: 23.5%

- Low intake of meat and meat products: 16.6%

- High vegetable intake: 16.2%

- High fruit and nut consumption: 11.2%

 - High monounsaturated-to-saturated fat intake: 10.6%

- High intake of legumes: 9.7%

 - High cereal intake: 6.1%

- Low dairy consumption: 4.5%

Really, these results can be cooked up at any sauce. So, to your saucepans!

- If you eat less meat, you’re going to eat more vegetables: add these ingredients to each other, and they now contribute to 32.8% of the benefits.

- Don’t like veggies? Fine, eat less meat and replace it with legumes, and you still get a combined effect of 26.3%

- Don’t like legumes nor veggies, but would rather eat fruit? That’s a combined effect of 27%.

The problem I see with the way researchers presented the results is that they did not account for total food combinations. What is sure, is that the red wine that accompanies the food stands alone from the rest. What is also sure is that a diet low in meat and high in vegetable, fruit, nuts and legumes promotes total health and longevity. As for the word “alcohol” in the result, I understand that it is mostly red wine taken with meals, which denotes a very different lifestyle than a couple scotch downed in a bar.

Based on this study, I wouldn’t advise non-drinkers to go and start drinking but I would advise heavy drinkers to moderate their drinking. But mostly, I would remind all consumers to take such publicized headlines with… a grain of salt!

Reference: Trichopoulou A, et al “Anatomy of health effects of Mediterranean diet: Greek EPIC prospective cohort study” BMJ 2009; 338: b2337.

Filed under: diet, alcohol, diet, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, Marie Dufour RD, Mediterranean Diet, nutrition, weight control

 By Marie Dufour, RD – Analyzing the data of over 23,000 men and women followed for 8.5 years by European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, researchers found that mortality dropped with tighter adherence to the Mediterranean diet (13.5% per two-unit increase on a 10-point adherence scale).

They monitored the relative intakes of alcohol intake, meat and meat products, vegetable, high fruit and nut, monounsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio, legumes, cereal and dairy consumption. In my book, that’s 8 components, and a statistical 12.5% chance for individual contribution of each element.

Here is how the micro-analysis of individual contribution to the total effect stacked up:

- Moderate alcohol intake: 23.5%

- Low intake of meat and meat products: 16.6%

- High vegetable intake: 16.2%

- High fruit and nut consumption: 11.2%

 - High monounsaturated-to-saturated fat intake: 10.6%

- High intake of legumes: 9.7%

 - High cereal intake: 6.1%

- Low dairy consumption: 4.5%

Really, these results can be cooked up at any sauce. So, to your saucepans!

- If you eat less meat, you’re going to eat more vegetables: add these ingredients to each other, and they now contribute to 32.8% of the benefits.

- Don’t like veggies? Fine, eat less meat and replace it with legumes, and you still get a combined effect of 26.3%

- Don’t like legumes nor veggies, but would rather eat fruit? That’s a combined effect of 27%.

The problem I see with the way researchers presented the results is that they did not account for total food combinations. What is sure, is that the red wine that accompanies the food stands alone from the rest. What is also sure is that a diet low in meat and high in vegetable, fruit, nuts and legumes promotes total health and longevity. As for the word “alcohol” in the result, I understand that it is mostly red wine taken with meals, which denotes a very different lifestyle than a couple scotch downed in a bar.

Based on this study, I wouldn’t advise non-drinkers to go and start drinking but I would advise heavy drinkers to moderate their drinking. But mostly, I would remind all consumers to take such publicized headlines with… a grain of salt!

Reference: Trichopoulou A, et al “Anatomy of health effects of Mediterranean diet: Greek EPIC prospective cohort study” BMJ 2009; 338: b2337.

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