An Eating Style that Is Staying in Fashion

January 23, 2018 in Diabetes, Health, Uncategorized by Joyce Bunderson

Yesterday, while enjoying lunch, I was having a conversation with Vic (Dr. Grandpa). We were discussing the fact that I don’t really have time to keep up on the constantly evolving array of diets.

I remember back in the 1990’s when I first realized that we could decrease risk for cardiovascular disease by eating a certain way; we could avoid some cancers by eating a certain way; we could decrease our risk of osteoporosis by eating a certain way; we could decrease our risk of type 2 diabetes by eating a certain way and on and on. The big surprise to me was when I realized that all of the risk-reduction eating patterns were essentially the same. I further realized that all the eating advice that I had embraced based on valid research was overlapping in essentially one style of eating. That was the beginning of the realization that there is actually a style of eating that could summarize all the different nutrition goals that I was convinced were optimal. I was advised not to embrace a particular diet because it would go “out of style,” as diets seem to do after a few years. But I thought about it; and it was so interesting to me that one eating style embraced so many different bodies of information, that I accepted it in spite of the advice. I like that it is a style of eating, not just another diet, which come and go out of style.

Here I am all these years later writing about an eating style that was discovered in the Mediterranean in the 1950s. The foods in the Mediterranean diet are the foods typically eaten in Greece and Southern Italy in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. The eating style, which I’ve so often written about is based upon plant-based foods, cutting down on saturated fat and sugar; it includes the moderate use of fish and poultry, legumes (beans), whole grains, fruits, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil and nuts. If the original Mediterranean eating style is combined with the DASH diet (controlled salt intake) it covers the recommended style of eating to reduce the risk of all those health concerns listed in paragraph two above, and do it for most people willing, and not medically barred from adopting some part of it.

New studies continue to support my decision:

  • January 11, 2018 – New study conducting a meta-analysis, finds that older adults adhering to a Mediterranean diet have less frailty, which is linked with risks of falls and other health related problems.
  • February 13, 2017 – The Journal of the American Heart Association – Circulation published a study that found that a Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil may boost ‘good’ cholesterol.
  • April 25, 2017 – The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published a study that found that the Mediterranean diet was associated with better cognitive function.
  • In June of 2014, Dr. Gianluca Tognon, of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden reported to the European Congress on Obesity at their meeting in Bulgaria, that children consuming a diet more in line with the rules of the Mediterranean style are less likely to be overweight or obese.

At various times in life we may discover that following after the latest trend distracts us and takes lots of our energy. We may discover that a classic is just that – classic. It may stand for a very long time – especially if it is based in sound science; like the Mediterranean eating style. Why use your energy to go on diet after diet? Possibly a consideration could be, how can I continue to tweak and perfect my embrace of the Mediterranean-style of eating to improve my health? Certainly a preponderance of evidence supports this decision.