Have you heard the news? People who follow a Mediterranean diet live an average of 23 years longer than people who eat more meat and animal products.
However, before you get too excited (but you should be hopeful) you’ve got to put some baselines around what the Mediterranean diet means. There’s many countries that fall into the region and lumping them all into a single diet is incorrect. What one country eats may not be what another consumes but they are in the same region.
The traditional Mediterranean diet includes the following characteristics:
- Frequent consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds
- Consumption of whole grain cereals (or breads)
- The use of seasonally fresh, locally grown and minimally processed foods
- Olive oil as the main source of dietary fats
- A frequent but moderate intake of wine, especially red wine, usually with meals
- Consumption of fresh fish and seafood
- Moderate use of dairy products (mainly cheese and yogurt), poultry and eggs
- Red meat and processed meats are consumed in low frequency and amounts
At the University of Gothenburg, the scientists investigated the effects of a Mediterranean diet on older individuals in Sweden. They used data collected from 1950 until now called the “H70″ study. The compared 70 year olds who ate a typical Mediterranean diet to people who ate more of a diet higher in meat and animal products.
The results show that those who eat a Mediterranean diet have a 20% higher chance of living longer.
These results are supported by additional but unpublished studies in the same region (making them Mediterranean like diets). One in Denmark, the second in northern Sweden and the third on children.
“This means in practice that older people who eat a Mediterranean diet live an estimated 23 years longer than those who don’t,” the researchers said. “The conclusion we can draw from these studies is that there is no doubt that a Mediterranean diet is linked to better health, not only for the elderly but also for youngsters.” ~ Gianluca Tognon, scientist at the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
In my own research, I don’t think their findings are all that surprising. Having more fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lower saturated fats and high fat dairy makes a lot of sense. There’s several “Western” books that don’t fall into the category of a Mediterranean diet but still meet the general characteristics of a such. Your typical Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle type nutrition program which is geared towards a healthy, sustainable lifestyle is a very close match.
- University of Gothenburg: Mediterranean diet gives longer life
- Does the Mediterranean Diet Predict Longevity: Journal Age
Marc David – CPT
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of NoBull Bodybuilding