The Mediterranean Diet Has Fat – Good Fat

August 23, 2016 in Health, Mediterranean, Nutrition, Uncategorized by Joyce Bunderson

The Annals of Internal Medicine published a review of 56 previously conducted studies that looked at the effects of health outcomes of a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) with no restriction on fat intake. Hanna E. Bloomfield, MD, MPH and others found some evidence that the MedDiet may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events, breast cancer and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

It’s just one more study in the collection of data that adds to the message that the type of fat is an important consideration. I think that by now, most everyone knows that trans fats are dangerous and that their legality in FDA-approved food products will be eliminated within the next three years. But, there is still some confusion about which fats are healthier.

Rather than say much about monounsaturated fats (good fats), I’ll just mention a few sources of them – these are a good choice when choosing foods with fat:

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Fatty fish (like salmon and tuna)
  • Fatty fruit like avocado and olives
  • Nuts and seeds

In spite of the popular press trying to push saturated fats, I don’t think there is sufficient evidence for eating much meat, cheese, whole fat dairy, processed foods, or bakery products. The saturated fat has not passed any criteria leading us to believe that it’s good for our hearts.

So the good news is that a diet that has sufficient amount of fat – good fat-- sustains satiety for quite a while and tastes good while eating.

Actually the researchers are not sure why the Mediterranean diet appears to be good for the body. Some hypothesize that it’s concentration of antioxidant or anti-inflammatory molecules could have something to do with it. Not the Annals of Internal Medicine study mentioned above, but another fairly recent study found that people with greater adherence to the MedDiet appeared to have longer telomers (the caps at the end of chromosomes), which are associated with longevity.

So the message is: Don’t exclude fat, but choose your fat sources carefully and it may benefit your health. The Mediterranean Diet has a mix that repeatedly promotes wellness in study after study.