nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Mediterranean Diet Works, Of Course...Because There's Nothing New In It

A meta-analysis of the health effects of the Mediterranean Diet shows benefit, but that's what we would expect from a collection of common sense advice that we've known for decades.

People talk about the Mediterranean Diet (aka THE DIET) as if there's some magic ingredient, or specialized technique.

Read this description from Science Daily (Mar 7):
The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern characterized by high consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids, primarily from olives and olive oils; daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, and low-fat dairy products; weekly consumption of fish, poultry, tree nuts, and legumes; a relatively low consumption of red meat; and a moderate daily consumption of alcohol, normally with meals.
Anything you haven't heard about before?  When you take each part of the diet and consider the advice, it's all stuff we've known for a long time.

So why does this diet have a special name?  Or a sacred status:
The Mediterranean Diet is more than a diet. It is a lifelong living style. You have to adopt it, as a religion. Decades ago, it was the natural way of life of many people around the Mediterranean Basin, especially in Spain, Italy and Greece (from Mediterranean
I've got it.  I can be rich and famous by putting together a bunch of common sense and giving it a name.  Here's the Doc D Automotive Safety Prescription:  make sure the key is turned on, establish that there's a brake pedal, glance at the tires to make sure they're inflated, and never try to drive from the back seat.

Do you think it'll become "lifelong living style"  in driving safety?

Anyway, what got me started on this rant, was the Science Daily article referred to above.  So I went to the research at the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (current issue dated Mar 15).  The meta-analysis took 50 previous studies and combined all the data.  This included statistics on approx 500K participants.   The focus of the review was to measure the impact of THE DIET on metabolic syndrome,  the quick and dirty definition of which is:  heart risk due to a combination of insulin resistance, high blood pressure, obesity, clotting factor abnormalities, and predisposition to inflammation.  That's very inexact, so you can go here to read more about it.  It's growing in prevalence.

So they found that THE DIET reduced the risk of metabolic syndrome (MS).

For Onion Peelers,
...Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with reduced risk of MS (log hazard ratio: –0.69, 95% confidence interval [CI]: –1.24 to –1.16). Additionally, results from clinical studies (mean difference, 95% CI) revealed the protective role of the Mediterranean diet on components of MS, like waist circumference (–0.42 cm, 95% CI: –0.82 to –0.02), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (1.17 mg/dl, 95% CI: 0.38 to 1.96), triglycerides (–6.14 mg/dl, 95% CI: –10.35 to –1.93), systolic (–2.35 mm Hg, 95% CI: –3.51 to –1.18) and diastolic blood pressure (–1.58 mm Hg, 95% CI: –2.02 to –1.13), and glucose (–3.89 mg/dl, 95% CI:–5.84 to –1.95)

If you look at the statistics closely you can see that the individual differences are not that great, and the confidence intervals are large, but taken together the health impact can be substantive.

That's all for today.  I have to go work on my DRIVING SAFETY program.

Doc D

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