Do you remember what I told you about Metabolic Syndrome and why you don’t want it? It is bad news and affects one of every three U.S. adults. If you don’t remember the details, refresh your memory!
We spoke about the American Heart Association’s recommendation of the DASH Diet as a smart way to help with Metabolic Syndrome.
Today, we’ll talk about the Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) and its effect on Metabolic Syndrome. First, what is the MedDiet? It is a way of eating that is common in the part of the world that borders the Mediterranean Sea. The MedDiet has nothing to do with calorie restriction, it has to do with food choices. The MedDiet Food Pyramid has 4 basic food groups:
# 1 – Every meal: fruits, vegetables, grains (mostly whole), olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices –
#2 – Eaten often, at least two times per week: fish and seafood –
#3 – Eaten in moderate portions daily or less often but at least weekly: poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt –
#4 – Eaten on occasion: meats and sweets.
In a study published late last year, researchers looked at the effect of eating a “Mediterranean Diet” on Metabolic Syndrome. Here are some of the study details:
● included 5,800 participants followed for about 5 years
● participants were divided into 3 different groups – group 1 ate a MedDiet and were also asked to add extra olive oil to their diet daily; group 2 ate a MedDiet and were also asked to add extra nuts to their daily diet; group 3 ate a low-fat diet
● participants could eat as much as they desired
● there were no weight loss goals or physical activity goals
● Of the participants who started the study without Metabolic Syndrome, 50% developed Metabolic Syndrome during the study and ALL of the ones who developed it were from the Low-Fat Diet group.
● Eating the MedDiet with added olive oil or nuts showed improvement in body weight, central obesity and blood sugar control.
● In the participants who started the study with Metabolic Syndrome, there was a 28% reversal in that condition in the MedDiet groups only.
OK, in this study, the low-fat diet didn’t help prevent or reverse Metabolic Syndrome!
Both the Mediterranean Diet talked about here and the DASH diet talked about in my other blog do help Metabolic Syndrome! What is really interesting is that the DASH diet (which was created by the U.S. National Institutes of Health) is, basically, the MedDiet!! The MedDiet may contain more olive oil but that’s about it!
Here is my take-home message. The Mediterranean Diet is good for Metabolic Syndrome. The DASH Diet is good for Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is not good for you. It is not difficult to make simple changes in how you eat and how you feed your family. Start slow if you want, just start! Say NO to Metabolic Syndrome and YES to a healthier life. Hey, maybe we can start with a Mediterranean Cruise!