On 10-14-14 the Canadian Medical Association released a report from a Spanish study that compared 3 diet plans for people with metabolic syndrome and high risk for developing cardiac disease.  The diets were:  1. “usual” diet counseling, with advice about following a low fat diet (the control group); 2.  a Mediterranean diet supplemented by nuts; and 3.  a Mediterranean diet supplemented by extra olive oil.  The treatment interventions were limited to dietary interventions, with no changes in the participants’ activity level, and weight loss was not a goal of this study.  The study appears to be well designed, with a large number of participants.

The report notes that about 25% of people around the world have metabolic syndrome, which is described as, “The syndrome exists in the presence of three or more factors such as large waist circumference, high blood pressure, low HDL-cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides and high blood sugar concentrations that can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and death.”  Almost 64% of the study participants had metabolic syndrome.

The study found significant differences among the 3 groups.  The researchers found that people in the two Mediterranean diet groups decreased their central obesity and blood glucose levels and 958 participants (28.2%) no longer met the criteria of metabolic syndrome. ” Participants in the group receiving olive oil supplementation showed significant decreases in both central obesity and high fasting glucose (p = 0.02); participants in the group supplemented with nuts showed a significant decrease in central obesity,” which established that the “olive oil supplementation” diet had the most benefits.

The study concludes with, ” A Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra virgin olive oil or nuts is not associated with the onset of metabolic syndrome, but such diets are more likely to cause reversion of the condition. An energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet may be useful in reducing the risks of central obesity and hyperglycemia in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease.” (italic added)

MHConcierge’s take: This is certainly good news for people who enjoy the Mediterranean diet, and is an incentive to increase their intake of olive oil.  For people with metabolic syndrome, or at risk for developing it, this information should be a strong incentive to use the Mediterranean diet plan and to increase their intake of olive oil. 

(Thanks to Ken Pope’s prolific posting service for this info)


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