Applause for the Mediterranean Diet


The September 29th edition of the Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA) is mainly devoted to proving how an improved lifestyle (proper diet, no smoking, exercise, and alcohol moderation) will improve overall health, both now and into the future:


1. A study of over 2,000 European men and women, ages 70 - 90, followed the Mediterranean Diet. After a 10 year follow-up, a 50% reduction was seen in the number of premature (diseased caused) deaths. Based on a 2000 calorie/day intake, the Mediterranean diet consists of:
- 50% carbohydrates (most of which should be from whole grains like: rice, wheat, etc instead of potatoes).
- 20% protein (with fish and white meat preferred over red meat)
- 30% maximum total fat (with a maximum of 10% saturated fat)
- A typical day's diet would be: 400 grams of whole grains and nuts, 250 grams of fruit, 150 grams of vegetables (with salads being important), and 200 grams of fish or white meat.


2. This same study was duplicated in the U.S., and also had a 2,000 person control group that followed the standard U.S. "heart" diet which only requires a maximum of 30% total fat (no guidelines on protein or carbs). The results show the Mediterranean diet beat the "heart" diet 2 to 1.


3. An additional study of 19,000 women, ages 70 - 81, showed that the Mediterranean diet plus mild exercise was even better. Mild exercise was defined as 2 ½ hours of normal speed walking a week. The study also showed:
- The more exercise the better.
- Memory loss and confusion were greatly reduced when the Mediterranean diet and exercise regimen were followed.


4. By the year 2020, there will be over 600 million people on Earth over the age of 60. Though the Mediterranean diet and exercise program has been proven to help this group, a study is underway in the U.S. to look at women of all ages. Over 150,000 nurses have signed up to follow the Mediterranean diet and exercise program. Phone interviews are being conducted every 2 years, and early results will be posted in a few years.



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