For people with heart disease, a Mediterranean diet prevents future heart problems better than a low-fat diet, according to a study in the May 14, 2022, issue of The Lancet.
For the study, Spanish researchers recruited 1,002 people ages 20 to 75 who had coronary artery disease. Half were randomly assigned to follow a low-fat diet, while the others followed a Mediterranean diet. They all met with a dietitian (in person or via phone) at least once a month. Both diets emphasized vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, as well as fish and poultry. But the Mediterranean diet featured more olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish, while the low-fat diet included more grains, potatoes, and legumes and emphasized low-fat cooking techniques.
After seven years, those following the Mediterranean diet had significantly fewer heart attacks, strokes, and related problems than those following the low-fat diet. This long-running study provides the most extensive evidence to date about the cardiac benefits of a Mediterranean-style eating pattern, say the authors.
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