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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mediterranean-Diet Research Stuns Researchers, Leads to a Startling Percentage of High-Risk People Not Getting Heart Attacks and Dying

Posted by on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

GORGEOUS GEORGE Eat and drink all this and you will not die.
  • Kelly O
  • GORGEOUS GEORGE Eat and drink all this and you will not die.
Did you see this piece in the New York Times today? "About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from heart disease"—THIRTY percent—"can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits, and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals..."

Sounds familiar, right? You already knew about this study, right? Wrong.

The findings... were based on the first major clinical trial to measure the diet’s effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet’s benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue...

Until now, evidence that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease was weak, based mostly on studies showing that people from Mediterranean countries seemed to have lower rates of heart disease — a pattern that could have been attributed to factors other than diet.

Bethany Jean Clement, who is sitting next to me as I type, was just put on the spot for some Mediterranean-restaurant recommendations in Seattle. Off the top of her head:

Golden Beetle, Maria Hines's restaurant in Ballard
Vios on Capitol Hill and in Vios in Ravenna
• "People love Yanni's in Greenwood but I've never been there, and same with Gorgeous George's in Greenwood"

For a full list of Mediterranean restaurants recommended by The Stranger (and reviewed by our readers) CLICK ON THESE WORDS RIGHT HERE. Now I'm hungry. I wish Gorgeous George's were closer.


Comments (40) RSS

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deadrose 40
I'm disappointed that the Olive & Grape in Greenwood hasn't made your Mediterranean list, or are you just covering kebab shops?
Posted by deadrose on February 27, 2013 at 2:49 PM · Report this
39 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
38 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
raku 37
#33: You're still arguing that nobody has PROVEN smoking causes lung cancer, right?

And it's not "dietary fat intake" - it's dietary animal fat intake that causes all kinds of problems, including diabetes and heart disease. That's why there are these studies that show non-hydrogenated vegetable oil is fine.
Posted by raku on February 26, 2013 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Cornichon 36
Mediterranean doesn't mean Middle Eastern exclusively, for heaven's sake. Spain, southern France, Italy, Greece, Morocco: all Mediterranean countries.
Posted by Cornichon on February 26, 2013 at 4:56 PM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 35
Low fat only means something if it significantly reduces calories. All they do with "reduced fat" peanut butter is drain off the peanut oil, a healthy fat, but the calories are virtually the same, with less healthful properties. The same thing applies to sugarfree, and low carbs. It doesn't matter from where the calories come, if you eat more calories than you burn, you will get fat. Even healthy fats should be used with moderation. French fries deep fried in olive oil have the same calories as fries cooked in lard. Lard is more likely to raise your cholesterol, but if you eat too many, you'll be just as fat either way.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on February 26, 2013 at 4:41 PM · Report this
thatsnotright 34
Now we need to figure out out to farm fish without all the negative ecological fallout. The rising popularity of seafood is having a deleterious effect on already over-fished wild fish stocks world wide.
Posted by thatsnotright on February 26, 2013 at 3:55 PM · Report this
blip 33
@31 A statistical association between dietary fat intake and diabetes in a study or 2 does not mean it is a major cause, or even a minor one. Causality is extremely difficult to assess by observational research.
Posted by blip on February 26, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 32
You know, everyone makes fun of Home Economics - how it supposedly subjugated women, blah, blah, blah, but I took Home Ec in Junior High (In Iowa, you took a semester of Home Ec and a semester of shop class each year) and a lot of that stuck with me over the years.

I don't can anything, and I don't sew, but I know how to make a meal from scratch, how to do laundry without ruining everything, how to sew a button back on, and how to balance my checkbook (not that I have a checkbook anymore, but that basic finance training was helpful to me)

If we taught basic life skills, including how to cook and eat healthy, we would have much more competent adults.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on February 26, 2013 at 3:40 PM · Report this
raku 31
Keshmeshi: it's extremely clear animal fat causes diabetes (and heart disease, and stroke, and certain cancers). It's not the only cause, but it's a major cause. Go to google scholar and there are literally dozens of studies supporting this.…
Posted by raku on February 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 30
People need to be taught. It's the nature of the beast. A lot of people feel challenged with boiling water because they need specific and basic kitchen skills. But making time to eat your own properly cooked meals can be a whole lot healthier, cheaper and easier than you might think. I can make enough good food one night to make at least three meals for that week that just need a quick reheat. Even healthy snacks are easy. And delicious. And you know what went in it. These are life skills that have a quantitative effect on your health.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 26, 2013 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 29
True. Forgot about that.

I think it's because I never once believed those idiotic American mainstream "low-fat" diets were real.

The problem, of course, is that when food manufacturers found out people wanted low fat, they just replaced the fats with other garbage. So a bag of "low fat" chips is packed full of corn syrup, salt, and myriad chemicals... but hey! It's low fat so why not eat 5 dozen bags?!?

Pisses me off...
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 26, 2013 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD:

All three dietary groups had almost equal facility PROMOTING the growth and clinical appearance of cardiovascular disease in those who at study onset did not have this illness. The single exception was the control group which had a significantly higher stroke rate; however at baseline, they also appeared to have a greater BMI, waist circumference, hypertension, anti hypertensive agents and diuretics suggesting a cohort at greater risk for strokes.

Emphasis is mine.

Dean Ornish, MD:

In summary, the most responsible conclusion should be, "We found a significant reduction in stroke in those consuming a Mediterranean diet high in omega‑3 fatty acids when compared to those who were not making significant changes in their diet."
Posted by cgd on February 26, 2013 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Arsenic7 27
You should never base the future of your health on a single article or study.
Posted by Arsenic7 on February 26, 2013 at 1:53 PM · Report this
blip 26
I've been a vegetarian for ...15ish years now and man alive, these self-righteous pricks who use every food thread to preach about vegetarianism are fucking insufferable. You are the reason everyone expects me to be an asshole when they find out I don't eat meat. You're ruining it for everyone.
Posted by blip on February 26, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 25

You're not taking the low fat orthodoxy into account. What this study proved is that low fat diets are worse for you than the "Mediterranean diet" which tosses out at least 30 years of mainstream American dietary advice.


Yes, the China Study, which blamed high cholesterol levels for diabetes.
Posted by keshmeshi on February 26, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
internet_jen 24
I don't think being predisposed to high cholesterol should be overlooked. A good diet for a predisposed person is like regular mammograms for a carrier if the breast cancer mutation.
Posted by internet_jen on February 26, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this
@6, I've been going to Vios for brunch every Saturday for a couple months now. So worth the trip deep into helicopter-parent territory. I have loved Thomas's menus since the old days at El Greco on Broadway.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 26, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 22
Hmm, I wonder what would happen if we made a couple of changes here?...

...if they switch to a M̶e̶d̶i̶t̶e̶r̶r̶a̶n̶e̶a̶n̶ vegan diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, f̶i̶s̶h̶, fruits, and vegetables,

Well, you'd probably see something like the results of the China Study.

The authors conclude that people who eat a plant-based/vegan diet—avoiding animal products such as beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk, and reducing their intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates—will escape, reduce or reverse the development of chronic diseases.

What's that you say? Fish are rich in healthy Omega 3 oils like DHA? Well, so is algae oil -- which is what fish get their DHA from.

Fish do not actually produce omega-3 fatty acids, but instead accumulate them by consuming either microalgae or prey fish that have accumulated omega-3 fatty acids [...]
Posted by Ipso Facto on February 26, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 21
It looks like what they're recommending is simply:

Avoid processed food and sugar.
Don't eat too much red meat.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Eat lots of whole grains.

That sounds like every other recommended eating regimen out there. The only thing that makes it "Mediterranean" is that olive oil is prominent on the list.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 26, 2013 at 1:24 PM · Report this
emma's bee 20
@17: Yes! Martha Rose Shulman's "Mediterranean Harvest" is in heavy rotation on our house. Lots of delicious and authentic vegetarian recipes from throughout the region, with excellent indexing too.
Posted by emma's bee on February 26, 2013 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 19
Part of the Mediterranean diet is Mediterranean portion sizes, not today's American super sized meals.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on February 26, 2013 at 12:58 PM · Report this
TVDinner 18
Hey, wasn't Gordon Ramsay at Yanni's recently, filming an episode of Kitchen Nightmares?
Posted by TVDinner http:// on February 26, 2013 at 12:54 PM · Report this
@1/2: I was going to say to Christopher that basic Mediterranean cooking is really easy to do at home, definitely easier than spelling "Mediterranean," but no cookbook sprang immediately to mind and then I got distracted (we're making a paper over here!).

Wait, though—I've been meaning to check out Yotam Ottolenghi's "Jerusalem" cookbook, which is reportedly awesome...

Anyone else, anything?
Posted by Bethany Jean Clement on February 26, 2013 at 12:50 PM · Report this
Mamnoon is a missing restaurant, and it's right on Cap Hill. Weird oversight.

And for recipes: invest in (or borrow from the library) Ottolenghi's books Plenty (which is vegetarian) and Jerusalem (which is omnivorous but slanted towards vegetables). Crazy good food, and as a nice bonus, almost all the most common vegetables in the books are grown in WA, including lentils and chickpeas.
Posted by alight on February 26, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 15
@ 11, all that can also be attained by continuing to eat meat, as our bodies were meant to to - but in small quantities, and preferably from pasture-raised animals raised in clean and drug-free environments.

There are no health benefits to veganism that can't also be attained by restraint.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 26, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 14

Anyone who blames diabetes on animal fat doesn't deserve to be taken seriously.
Posted by keshmeshi on February 26, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
sperifera 13
The more food that we eat that is less processed, the better off we are. A good rule of thumb: If it wasn't available in 1950, you probably shouldn't eat it (very often).
Posted by sperifera on February 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM · Report this
Yeah. Because nobody in Mediterranean countries eats animals fats.
Posted by tkc on February 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM · Report this
raku 11
Meanwhile, 34% of heart attacks, as well as large percentages of cancer, strokes, and diabetes, can be prevented by a vegetarian or vegan diet. This likely has nothing to do with anything magic about olive oil, and all about reducing red meat and animal fat.…
Posted by raku on February 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM · Report this
@ 6 -- Good catch. Fixed. Thanks.
Posted by Christopher Frizzelle on February 26, 2013 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 9
Sadly, even though the sign for Costas Opa is still up at N 34th and Fremont Ave N, it's closed and turning into a Chase Bank.
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM · Report this
CC-Rob 8
Mawada Cafe in South Seattle (Rainier and Graham) is the best and it's not on your list?
Posted by CC-Rob on February 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM · Report this
spaceapple 7
You left out Plaka Estiatorio in Ballard.
Posted by spaceapple on February 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Vios, not Vio's

The New Sonoma Diet cookbook is really great, by the way. The website is all about losing weight, but the food is great and the principles around the diet make sense. And they encourage wine drinking.
Posted by genevieve on February 26, 2013 at 12:12 PM · Report this
Gurldoggie 5
You'll take away these Pork rinds and Mountain Dew over my dead body!
Posted by Gurldoggie on February 26, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
I figure if we can eat like people in Italy and Greece do, where the GDP is plummeting under forced German Austerity, to profit the Bankers in foreign countries, we'll live longer.

Serfs always do.

That said, you can substitute olive oil for many oils (NOT BAKED GOODS) and you can eat more fish and more unprocessed nuts and grains.

After all, who wants horse meat in their diet?
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 26, 2013 at 12:04 PM · Report this
the only thing you need there is the fish part with a dusting of vegetables. ever thing else is just a lighter version of the unhealthy filler everyone already eats.
Posted by ry coolage on February 26, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
@1 - That's what I'VE been saying. Recipes! BJC, what say you?
Posted by Christopher Frizzelle on February 26, 2013 at 11:51 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 1
Better yet, how about a recipe or two! Make a regular feature out of good eating recipes, please.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 26, 2013 at 11:44 AM · Report this

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