Rising to fame in the early 1990’s the Mediterranean diet is a diet inspired by the diet of the Greeks as well as a moderate amount of European countries. This diet originally discovered by an American biologist Ancel Keys and his wife in 1975 but failed to gain any public traction until the 1990’s after which it gained recognition mainly due to research papers published by researchers, lauding its positive effect on the prognosis of various diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, by the time 2010 started, the Mediterranean diet had become a fad within the elite circles.
But what does this diet consist of? The beauty of this diet lies in its lack of stringency and its focus on eating food that is reminiscent of Mediterranean-style cooking. This diet varies based on regions, but the basic concept remains the same: there isn’t any significant change in the total dietary fat consumption, however, the intake of saturated fats and hydrogen oils is kept in check. The Mediterranean diet focuses on the consumption of legumes, fruits, nut and vegetables, while discouraging excessive use of diary products, sea food and red meat. It also incorporates herbs and spices in the place of salt and the occasional indulgence of red wine, a staple in the Mediterranean region. Perhaps the most important aspects of the Mediterranean diet are that not only does the diet plan recommend exercise, it is considered an ‘enjoyable diet plan’ thus making patient compliance more likely.
The Mediterranean diet’s focus on the decreased saturated fats has been found to prevent multiple chronic diseases by lowering the LDL (Low density lipoproteins) which is the form of cholesterol most likely to clog up arteries in the body. After extensive but, yet unproved research, the Mediterranean diet claims to protect against heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity and other metabolic complications. It also acts as a safeguard against other diseases such as depression, cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s thus having a positive impact on the overall life of the subject by improving both longevity as well as good health.
A highly publicized diet, it was recently the center of much criticism and questioning since the study paper which made it famous was redacted after ‘extensive research’ by the original authors for being flawed. According to them, while researching the Mediterranean diet there were multiple factors that destroyed the randomization of the trials thus making the study biased in regard to the results. Along with other issues such as unethical meddling by the researchers further leading to bias, the study was corrupted and with all these overlooked flaws the paper had to be redacted due to its inaccuracy.
However, despite these flaws, there is some clinical evidence that this diet is ultimately useful, a fact further exalted if we consider the liveliness of the people residing in the Mediterranean region. Thus, perhaps unprovable, the Mediterranean diet is still a healthy diet to follow and thus recommended to all those that wish to lead a healthier lifestyle.