Scientists from Universidad de Córdoba found that the Mediterranean diet prevents heart disease better than a low-fat diet.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating habits that are based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.
The diet is plant-based, and it focused on whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. Olive oil is the main source of added fat in the diet.
The diet also includes fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry in moderation but limits red meat and sweets.
A low-fat diet is an eating plan that is low in total fat, regardless of the type of dietary fat consumed. Generally, it’s limited to less than 30% of your total daily calories from fat.
Mediterranean and low-fat diets are effective in the prevention of heart disease.
In the current study, researchers aimed to compare the benefits of these two diets in the prevention of heart disease.
They examined more than 1000 patients with coronary heart disease (aged 20-75 years).
These people were assigned to receive a Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet, with a follow-up of 7 years.
During the follow-up period, the team found heart disease events occurred in 198 participants: 87 in the Mediterranean diet group and 111 in the low-fat group.
Further analysis showed that the Mediterranean diet was linked to lower risks of heart disease than the low-fat diet.
These effects were more evident in men, with heart disease events occurring in 67 (16·2%) of 414 men in the Mediterranean diet group versus 94 (22·8%) of 413 men in the low-fat diet group than in 175 women for whom no difference was found between groups.
Based on the findings, the team concludes that the Mediterranean diet is superior to the low-fat diet in preventing major heart disease events.
The results are relevant to clinical practice, supporting the use of the Mediterranean diet in secondary prevention.
The research was published in The Lancet and conducted by Javier Delgado-Lista et al.
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