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The Mediterranean diet study

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Satisfy View Post
    I've been to Croatia to visit family and was surprised how healthy their lifestyle of eating is. They farm their own vegetables and raise their own livestock. Even if their not growing the vegetables themselves you can guarantee the market is organic. They eat a lot of seafood! The olive oil is excellent and their is copious amount of red wine being drunk.

    The one thing they would need to get rid of to be completely Paleo is just the bread, their bread is freshly baked though. They make great soups and goulash!

    Goulash - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I don't want to generalize but the diet definately seems to be the reason Europeans are intelligent and healthy
    Had to bite on this one, the balkans have been a battle ground for over 1,000 years, can't see much intelligence seeping through there, and the rest of europe is not much better, don't quite understand your criteria for defining intelligence there.

    As for overall health, there are hand picked regions which produce some better longevity stats, but for the majority they really aren't much better than the US or Australia, so without the consideration of where the actual data is sourced from and taking into consideration the confounding factors, any statement regarding mediterranian diet really is a statement of nothing.

    The percieved mediterranian diet has been taken for a marketing journey around the world to no avail, success rate being basically the same as snake oil.
    "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"


    • #17
      Haven't posted in ages.

      Before I learned how to eat I was a fat blob. I took a trip to visit family in Lebanon in 98 and ate any and everything I could get my hands on for a month...and lost a couple belt sizes (no idea on weight). I came back home and instantly put that weight back on plus. While I never tracked food/calories/macros and can't report, I can report I didn't leave one sliver of food and always ate as much as I could.

      Now thinking back, it very much resembles paleo/primal/low grain (lots of veggies, little fruit)

      Sun everyday and beach certainly helped.


      • #18
        Tiva, thank you for the excellent post!

        I find it interesting -- and distrubing -- that the study was clearly controlled to compare olive oil to grains; but the media chose to highlight the other markers which were not controlled for.

        It seems to me to any diet is better than SAD anyway. SAD is high-fucktose corn syrup, GMO everything, soy and crap oils and sugar everywhere. What sort of wheat are they eating in Europe? Is it the dwarf hybrid wheat that's been causing so much trouble?
        5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.


        • #19
          Originally posted by tiva View Post
          The actual study--by a Spanish team of researchers-- is excellent and it bears little resemblance either to the media reports, or to what many of you are describing. Read the study; it's ungated at the New England Journal of Medicine: NEJM study

          A few details to note:

          A. This was not a retrospective recall study, as one poster above suggested. The researchers randomly assigned Spainards to one of three groups, and then used urinary biomarkers to assess compliance.

          B. All three groups of people were told to avoid commercial baked goods, cookies, pastries, and processed foods; red meats; vegetables spreads, margarine, sodas, etc. So this study was explicitly NOT trying to say anything about red meat, processed foods, etc.

          C. The study explicitly compared fat and grain: one group (the control) was told to eat as little fat as possible and lots of grains; another group was told to eat at least 4 tablespoons of unfiltered, extra virgin olive oil each day, plus as much fatty fish & sofrito (an olive oil/herb/garlic dish) as possible. The third group was told to eat 1/4 cup of walnuts/hazelnut/almonds each day, plus fatty fish and sofrito. The rest of their diet was meant to be fairly similar: no soda, no added sugar, no processed foods.

          The researchers found that the groups who ate more fat and fewer grains were much healthier than the control group that ate little fat and more grains.

          The study says nothing about saturated fat; it was explicitly designed to avoid the saturated fat argument by holding saturated fat levels constant. It's about fat and grains, and the message is: low fat, high grains diets are not nearly as good for you as high fat, lower grain diets.

          So I read this study as excellent support for primal principles.
          Thanks, Tiva. I was viewing the study pretty similar to how you are. The main problem as I see it that in the US media they are reporting the findings with a huge pyramid in the article called "The Mediterranean Diet" and the entire base is made of grains! Per your above analysis this is very misleading.


          • #20
            My parents were great friends with a couple from Athens, Greece. We had them over for month long visits in the summer, and we took as many weeks possible to go there. It was, by far, my most favorite place to visit, not only great site seeing but this sweet family and their lifestyle made such an impression on all of us.

            They ate eggs and buttered artisan bread with homemade jam for breakfast with lots of coffee and cream.. mid day would be whatever fish was recently caught, grilled mostly, cabbage rolls, fried potatoes, and supper was a 2-3 hr event with as many people as they could gather. It was fabulous meat, all kinds, loads of veggies, couscous, and the most delicious mushrooms, more freshly baked bread & butter and many bottles of wine. Baklava eaten all day long.

            Everything there was just much more relaxed than here. They had happy hour and discussed their problems in depth, but when they gathered around a huge table it was nothing but laughter and praise for kids doing something great, jokes, and always ended with this fab lemony custard. We always tried to mimic their way of living for as long as it would last when we returned home.


            • #21
              Well you just gave me a whole lot of Wikipedia to check out. I'll be a pro on the Balkans in no time

              Although I don't have scientific studies and to support my thesis I definitely do believe their diet is amazing! I saw the proof first hand.. maybe I had a few to many beers :P
              -safe is the new risky


              • #22
                They can never make up their mind about what constitues a Mediterranean diet.
                I watched a British diet show where they sent dieters to stay with a morbidly obese family in Crete, and they talked about how Crete once had the healthiest population in the world but their traditional diet has been replaced by one high in restaurant food and meat. They really harped on the meat thing.
                However, they also talked about how traditionally it's a huge honor to slaughter an animal for guests, and they really freaked out the Brits when they had them watch the dad kill a goat he'd raised. Then when the mom was cooking it the narrator said that goat meat was in low in fat but 'she's smothered it in olive oil.'
                They couldn't even make up their mind what their message was within one show!

                Overall, all these places that people talk about being so much healthier...there isn't a totally clear trend that it's vegetarianism, that's it's a low-fat diet, even that it's a grain free diet, but there does seem to be a trend that it's less processed food. No one seems to want to highlight that message though.