Oct 28

Mediterranean Diet Reversed Metabolic Syndrome for Some in Study


Mediterranean Diet Reversed Metabolic Syndrome for Some in Study

A study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on October 14, 2014, which showed that the Mediterranean diet may reverse metabolic syndrome.  The study lasted for almost five years, following 5,801 men and women ages 55-80 years old, 64% of whom had metabolic syndrome (a collection of risk factors – high blood pressure, high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels) and were at high risk for cardiovascular disease.  The participants were randomly assigned 3 diets:  a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, or a general low-fat diet (control group).  At the end of the study, findings showed none of the diets lowered the odds of developing metabolic syndrome, but for those that already had the condition at the beginning, 28.2% of the participants no longer met the criteria of metabolic syndrome after being on the Mediterranean diet for a little under 5 years!  As an additional benefit, participants who received the extra-virgin olive oil supplement also showed decreases in abdominal fat and lowered fasting glucose levels.


The Mediterranean Diet has been known to be a heart-healthy diet.  According to the Mayo Clinic, it incorporates healthy eating with conMan drinking winesumption of healthy fats like olive oil, drinking red wine in moderation, using herbs and spices instead of salt for flavoring foods, and choosing more fish and poultry over red meat.  Olive oil is known to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated or trans fats.  Fatty fish are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are also great for the heart. The Mediterranean Diet recommends eating fish twice a week and limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month.  Red wine in moderation has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease in some research studies.  Men over 65 and women should not drink more than 5 ounces daily, and younger men should drink no more than 10 ounces daily.


The exciting takeaway from this study is that following a Mediterranean diet has the potential to actually reverse established metabolic syndrome.  Those who have metabolic syndrome can take a proactive approach and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by changing their diet to a more heart-healthy one.