The People's Perspective on Medicine

High-Fat Mediterranean Diet Has Health Benefits

Mediterranean diets high in nuts or olive oil help people overcome metabolic syndrome and its risks.

The Mediterranean diet has once again shown superiority over a low fat diet in reversing cardiovascular risk.


Spanish researchers analyzed data from the PREDIMED study in which volunteers were randomized to follow one of three diets. Some participants followed a Mediterranean-type diet that was supplemented with nuts. Others followed the same diet but got large portions of extra-virgin olive oil. The third group followed a low-fat diet. They were followed for roughly five years.

Metabolic Syndrome

In this new analysis, the investigators were specifically studying a serious cardiovascular risk called metabolic syndrome. It is related to waist circumference and elevations in blood glucose, blood pressure and triglycerides.

The people assigned to the Mediterranean diets with extra nuts and olive oil were better able to reduce blood glucose and waist circumference than those on the low-fat diet. They also appeared more capable of overcoming metabolic syndrome.

The low-fat diet craze of the 1990s appears to be losing credibility with high-quality research.

[Canadian Medical Association Journal, online October 14, 2014]

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    It’s not clear to me that the control group was truly low fat. I could find no indication of the fat content of their diet. If they were around the 30% level that is often (mistakenly) considered low fat then this study is virtually meaningless.

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