New study supports what we’ve always shared on the North End Market Tour

When is the last time you remember a scientific study being cut short because the results were so clear it would have been unethical to continue the research? That’s exactly what happened with a recent large-scale, randomized trial in Spain. Dr. Ramon Estuch, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Barcelona decided to find out whether a Mediterranean diet could, by itself, make a measurable difference in heart disease risk. The subjects in this latest study were chosen because of their high risk of heart disease, and were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Participants in the control group were given a low-fat diet, and received instructions on how to follow it. The participants in the remaining two groups were instructed on how to follow a Mediterranean diet. One of these groups was told to use at least four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily. The other group was counseled to eat an ounce of mixed walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts every day. People in both groups followed a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, ate fish at least three times a week, and legumes such as beans, peas or lentils at least three times a week as well. White meat replaced red meat, and those that already drank wine were told to have at least seven glasses a week, along with their meals. Participants in all groups were advised to avoid commercially made cakes and cookies, and to limit their consumption of dairy products and processed meats.

All of the participants in the study had at least three major cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, obesity or smoking prior to commencing the study, and ranged in age from 55 to 80.

Those in the olive oil group had a 28 percent reduction in risk compared to the control group. Those in the mixed nut group had a similar reduction in cardiovascular risk. The same results occurred when the two groups’ diets were combined and compared to the control group.

Until recently evidence that a Mediterranean diet could substantially reduce the risk of heart disease was based mostly on circumstantial evidence. It was well known that people in Mediterranean countries had a lower risk, but it could not be proven as to whether the key could be found in diet, or attributed to other factors.

Then, along came Dr. Estuch. The results were so startlingly clear that researchers felt confident in saying that they support the use of the Mediterranean diet as a means “primary prevention of heart disease”.

Adopting a Mediterranean diet is the healthiest way to eat. Nothing new here for us, we’ve been showcasing this for almost 20 years and we feel quite flattered that our information has been verified. However, the ingredients are the key players and with all of the fraudulent foods out there, shouldn’t you know what to buy? Do you know that at least 50% of the extra virgin olive oil on the market doesn’t have olives in it! Join us and learn how to distinguish the best from the rest and open the door to countless culinary possibilities and good health.

written by Jim Becker and Michele