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A second Spanish and professional opinion on the Mediterranean Diet
02 March 2017 @ 11:52

      Today I would like to offer you a second opinion, which I just listened on the radio, about the Mediiterranea Diet and especially with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

     To talk about this topic, so important and interesting, for millions of people around the world, on the radio was, as a guest: Miguel Angel Martínez González, who is a Professor, at the University of Navarre (North of Spain) and a lecturer at Harvard University. The Professor Martínez has been looking for scientific evidence of the benefits of our Mediterranean Diet, for 20 years. The Professor Martinez says that, specially young people have forgotten about the Mediterranean Diet. He says: "In a collaborative study, funded by the Carlos III Health Institute of Madrid, after a decade of working, in this macro study, called PREDIMED (Prevention with Mediterranean Diet), we have been able to demonstrate, with the best scientific possible evidence, that the Mediterranean Diet reduces cardiovascular disease, by 30 percent, that is: we followed the people, we told a group to eat Mediterranean Diet, we told another group to eat a diet ...  –-which was the Group Control--, which was recommended by the American Heart Society, and after many years of monitoring, we were counting how many heart attacks, stroke and how many cardiovascular deaths occurred, in each group, and we saw this relative reduction, impressive, about 30 per cent of the risk  --this is the best scientific test, which you can have on the relationship between Diet and Health--".

Professor Miguel Angel Martínez

The Professor Martinez and his team

The University-Hospital of Navarre

      The Professor explained that "The PREDIMET trial is a collaborative effort of many Spanish research teams, it is an idea that arises in Catalonia, later we incorporated Navarra and, from these groups, other research teams from 8 Autonomous Communities were incorporated. We recruited 7,447 people (men and women, among  55 and 80 years old), who were at high cardiovascular risk, but who had never had a cardiovascular disease, and assigned them at random to follow 3 diets (2 of them were a Mediterranean Diet  --in one of them, we gave Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we gave them 15 litres, every 3 months, so that they and their families consume 1 litre, every week --In the second group, with Mediterranean Diet, we gave them nuts --half of almonds and half of hazelnuts--, to consume at least 30 grams each day). And the third group, randomly assigned, it was a low-fat diet  --which was the current recommendation by the American Heart Association in those days--. Then, these three groups received visits from Dietitians, every three months, they had group sessions, we gave them cooking recipes, shopping lists, menus, they were explained the Mediterranean foods or foods low in fat  --according to the group-- and we were monitoring them, year after year, during ... this began in Navarre, the first recruited were in Navarre, in 2003, then joined the other Centers and we stopped the trial, in 2010, when we already had Data to 2010, on the recommendation of an External Advisory Committee  --which told us that there was enough scientific evidence and that continuing the trial would not be ethical, because there was already a very significant 30 percent, statistically, of risk reduction of Cardiovascular mortality, strokes, and stroke in the two Mediterranean diet groups, compared to what until then was the paradigm of a healthy diet --which was what the Americans advocated, which was a low-fat diet--. So this was a spectacular demonstration  --because there is no other study, which has achieved similar results in the world-- , the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for cardiovascular prevention”.

      The Professor continues saying: “Then, in 2013, and also in Navarre, we started another study (PREDIMED PLUS), in which we also gave away olive oil and nuts; but the recruitment has also been completed  --and we also have almost 7,000 participants--. In this second study, the Mediterranean Diet, we added two more things: weight loss and physical exercise. In the first study, we did not do anything, specific, to lose weight and we did not introduce any program of physical activity; Now, we added these two things and we have many more contacts with the participants: instead of having one, every three months, we have had three, every month, in the first year; ie, it is a very intensive study”.

      The Professor Martínez explains the consequences of these benefits, with the Mediterranean Diet: "The first important thing is that the first two causes of mortality, in Spain and in the world, are reduced by 30%: myocardial infarctions and stroke. Afterwards, the reduction in breast cancer  --in patients, who specifically received Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it was reduced to one-third, that is, two-thirds of the risk of breast cancer was eliminated--. We have also shown the reduction, in the risk of Arithmias --with Mediterranean Diet, rich in Extra Virgin Olive Oil--. The main Arithmia is Atrial Fibrillation: one in every 4 people, from the age of 40, will develop this disorder of heart rate  --which greatly increases the risk of thromboembolic phenomena ..., of brain ..., which deteriorates the quality of life, exercise capacity .... and this was reduced, by 38%, the risk of developing Auricular Fibrillation--. Another problem, that was reduced --the most reduced-- was Peripheral Arteriopathy  --which are problems of circulation, in lower limbs, which mainly affects Diabetics and smokers--; well, with the Mediterranean Diet, the risk of having these circulatory problems, in lower limbs, was significantly reduced to less than half. The Type 2 Diabetes was also reduced: half of our participants were not diabetics, when we started the trial, and then we were seeing how many became diabetics, during this long journey, which has taken us a decade of our lives, and we were seeing that, with ExtraVirgin Olive Oil and the Mediterranea Diet, and, to a lesser extent, with nuts and Mediterranean Diet, but also reduced the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, which is a great pandemic, that we have, right now, worldwide: it is estimated that people born, In the United States, in the year 2000, one in three will develop Diabetes and now we are approaching 10% of Diabetes, in most countries  --10% of the adult population with Diabetes--.  Knowing how to prevent Diabetes has been a great teaching of the PREDIMED trial. The advantage of this trial was not only that we observed what people ate, but we told them what they had to eat; ie, it was an intervention study, which we call Randomized  --randomly assigned--, with which, the participants were exactly the same, in all, the three groups, except in their diet, and this gives the stronger scientific evidence, that there may be, that a diet can reduce this type of diseases”.

      Well, I hope that you can now have a more clear idea about the importance of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

      Until my next post, kind regards,


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