Is The Mediterranean Diet Really Healthful?

I was thinking about the big Mediterranean diet study that often gets cited to defend that way of eating. It’s nicknamed PREDIMED, short for “Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea.”

Here it is:

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet, New England Journal of Medicine, 25 February 2013

Just a refresher … there were 3 groups, about 2500 people in each group. One Mediterranean diet group ate a liter of olive oil a week, one Med. group ate 30 grams of nuts a day, and one group was a control.

The thing I was thinking… 179 people assigned to eat the Mediterranean diet (96 in oil group, 83 in nut group) experienced a “major cardiovascular event” in the ~4.8 years of the study. According to the authors, all 179 had “no cardiovascular disease at enrollment.”

Imagine having no cardiovascular disease, being put on a special diet that was designed expressly to prevent heart attack, and experiencing a heart attack less than 4.8 years later? Dr. Esselstyn took people with advanced coronary artery disease, put them on a low-fat, plant-based diet, and 12 years later they had no more cardiac events! Why isn’t a low-fat, plant-based diet the preferred diet?

Also, there was no difference among the groups for “death from any cause.” (There were 118 in the oil group, 116 in the nut group, and 114 in the control group who died “from any cause.”) The Mediterranean diet didn’t keep people from dying any more than the control group.

I do not believe in the Mediterranean diet. I don’t even know what it is. By the way, PREDIMED was sponsored by oil and nut groups.

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