March 7th, 2011

Meta-Analysis Finds Mediterranean Diet Helps Fight Metabolic Syndrome

The Mediterranean diet may be a potent weapon in the battle to halt the growth of metabolic syndrome (MS), a new meta-analysis suggests. Christina-Maria Kastorini and colleagues performed a meta-analysis on 50 studies including nearly 535,000 participants. In their paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, they report that adherence to the Mediterranean diet was closely tied to a reduced risk of MS and its individual components, and included beneficial effects on waist circumference, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, diastolic and systolic blood pressure, and glucose.

The authors concluded that their “results are of considerable public health importance, because this dietary pattern can be easily adopted by all population groups and various cultures and cost-effectively serve for the primary and secondary prevention of the MS and its individual components.”

3 Responses to “Meta-Analysis Finds Mediterranean Diet Helps Fight Metabolic Syndrome”

  1. The Mediterranean diet is arguably the healthiest pattern of eating. Unfortunately, as one author of this meta-analysis has shown separately, the degree of adherence is now low even in the Greek islands. Still, without close adherence, the Mediterranean people are more active than Americans, and have higher vitamin D levels.

    No flash, no hype, no endless arguments, no books or promotional tours… just overwhelming concordant observational and epidemiological evidence accumulated over 40+ years by different authors. Way too effective, consistent and old-fashioned for modern tastes.

    The “diet” is pleiotropic, has no side effects, and is less expensive to follow than the fast food pattern. Since it involves more preparation time and is less salty and fat-laden, its popularity in the US and UK has not been great. Without doubt, the “default” human- and heart-healthy diet is somewhere between the Mediterranean and Paleolithic. Oh yes, forgot. There are some side effects—all cause mortality and physical debilitation fall, cognitive and sexual function are preserved.
    Richard Kones

  2. Karen Politis, MD says:

    As Dr. Kones eloquently points out, the Mediterranean diet beats the 20th century urban diet hands down. As he also mentions, it also involves more preparation: hours of standing over a sink washing, cleaning and chopping the vegetables that are the mainstay of the diet, whether served cooked or raw. Whether we like it or not, these days the ladies who used to do kitchen duty are out working long hours. One other advantage of the Mediterranean diet is ecologic. Since it is lower on the food chain, it consumes less energy and creates less carbon emissions. Perhaps ecologic and economic reasons will force all of us back to the tradition of someone cooking at home for the rest of the family – and the good old days of “eat your vegetables!!”

    Competing interests pertaining specifically to this post, comment, or both:
    No conflicts of interest.

  3. Mario Bonilla, Medical doctor says:

    Dr. Karen Politis,MD
    I read with pleasure your comment because it doesn’t restrict to the MS but healthy living as a whole. To highlight home, family life.
    Also you emphasized the ecologic aspect of the Mediterranean Diet, another modern life problem.
    Fortunately, I had my Italian family who raised me in this country, uruguay, in home-made meals and to be careful on the food business. This a top topic on health education that as a military physician I try to teach to servicemen and servicewoman .

    Competing interests pertaining specifically to this post, comment, or both: