There is increasing evidence to suggest that people who adopt a whole diet approach such as the Mediterranean diet, have a lower risk of heart attack and cardiovascular related death than those who follow a strictly low-fat diet.
This is according to a new study recently published in The American Journal of Medicine. The researchers noted that while a low-fat diet may lower cholesterol, they found people who followed a whole diet approach, particularly the Mediterranean diet, had a greater reduction in cardiovascular death and non-fatal heart attacks than those who followed a strictly low-fat diet.
The findings show that consuming a variety of cardio-protective foods in a diet is better at preventing heart disease than a standard low-fat diet. For example, the Mediterranean diet focuses on increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pasta and fish, eating products made from vegetable and plant oils, and eating less meat.
The investigators say this diet incorporates foods that are low in saturated fat, but it also encourages intake of monounsaturated fats that are known to lower cholesterol. This whole diet approach with equal attention to what is consumed, as well as what is excluded is more effective in preventing cardiovascular disease than low-fat, low-cholesterol diets.
The Mediterranean Diet is rich in vegetables, fruit, peas and beans and grains. It also contains moderate amounts of chicken and fish. There is little red meat and most fat is unsaturated and comes from olive oil and nuts. The Mediterranean Diet has certain types and amounts of food and has been shown to reduce the risks of developing heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
In combination with moderate exercise and not smoking, the Mediterranean Diet offers a scientifically researched, affordable, balanced, and health-promoting lifestyle choice.
These advantages are clearly not afforded to us through a low fat diet alone.