Mediterranean diet, a panacea for health, even that of the heart. Even children know this but now one of the most important studies on the subject has been withdrawn by the authors due to its methodsDon't store avocado like this: it's dangerous
Mediterranean diet, a panacea for health, even that of the heart. Even children know this but now one of the most important studies on the subject has been withdrawn by the authors due to its methods.
First appearing in 2013, it study was conducted by researchers from the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, who after analyzing 7.447 people aged between 55 and 80 for 10 years, all at high risk of cardiovascular disease, had discovered that the Mediterranean diet, thanks to the extra virgin olive oil and dried fruit, was able to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and cardiovascular disease by 30%.
The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was the culmination of PREDIMED, the largest randomized clinical trial conducted in Spain and one of the largest in the world.
But the problems detected were so important that the researchers retracted their original paper and instead published a reanalysis of the data in the same journal on June 13, in which they explained the methodological problems.
The criticisms of the study
Much of the research in support of the Mediterranean diet comes from observational studies, which are based precisely on the observation of eating habits and measure the results, without intervening.
But the 2013 study was different as participants had been asked to follow either a Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet for nearly 5 years. Randomization is important here, because it works to eliminate factors that researchers cannot control.
After the study was published, the researchers found critical errors that meant that their "randomization" process was not always random. In some cases, researchers had assigned all members of a family to a diet, instead of randomly assigning each member to a different diet. According to critics, therefore, if people are randomly assigned to one group or another, the two groups could also have similar characteristics.
Because of these irregularities, the researchers withdrew their original paper and carried out another analysis trying to use statistical methods to account for the problems caused by flawed randomization. Despite this, they arrived at the same conclusion: the Mediterranean diet was linked to a 30% reduction about the risk of heart attack and stroke.
“The results of our reanalyses were similar to what we had originally reported. Furthermore, reanalysis of our data revealed no evidence that certain lifestyle or treatment factors potentially related to cardiovascular disease risk distorted the results or provided an alternative explanation for the observed cardiovascular disease benefits from diet. Mediterranean ".
In light of the problems with the original study, do doctors still recommend following the Mediterranean diet to protect heart health?
There is no doubt that the Mediterranean diet is healthy. The study in question is certainly not the only one to have demonstrated its benefits for heart health. Also an'other research conducted by the Harokopio University of Athens, carried out on over 2.500 subjects between 18 and 89 years, confirmed that a diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, cereals (preferably whole), nuts, beans, fish and olive oil, is able to reduce almost half (47%) the risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to have numerous other benefits. It ensures a large amount of antioxidants and for this reason it is considered an ally of longevity, it protects our body from oxidative stress. It fights diabetes and metabolic syndrome, improves brain function by preventing dementia and Alzheimer's e reduces the risk of cancer.
On the Mediterranean diet, read also:
- Mediterranean diet: proven benefits, examples and a slimming version
- The Mediterranean diet fights depression. Here's what to eat
- Mediterranean diet: benefits and errors of today's diet