When appraising the nutritional facts on the back of any grocery product, a low-calorie count always seems like a seal of approval for health and longevity. But according to a new report published in The Pharmaceutical Journal, calories and cholesterol are not as important as you’d think. Looking at various studies, researchers found that a high-caloric diet isn’t an accurate predictor of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.
For a long time, the obesity epidemic has been attributed to excessive calorie intake, but studies show that “while obesity prevalence and diabetes prevalence correlate, they are not concordant.” In fact, there are many countries with obese populations that are not diabetic (Iceland, Mongolia, Micronesia), and there are many countries with diabetic populations that are not obese (India, Pakistan, and China). Beyond that, up to one-third of normal weight people die from type 2 diabetes.
So what gives? Emerging evidence shows that insulin resistance is the most important predictor of cardio vascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Beyond eliminating sugar from your diet, the researchers found that one of the safest and most effective ways to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke “is to consume a high fat and low glycemic load Mediterranean diet and engage in regular exercise.”
Rich in omega-3s and polyphenol, the nuts, extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, and oily fish prevalent in the Mediterranean diet help to reduce insulin resistance, a primary cause of metabolic syndromes like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, research has proven again and again that those who eat a Mediterranean diet also weigh less and have a reduced risk of depression and dementia.
So how can you get started on the Mediterranean diet and eat like the Greek? Visit Health.com for a crash course.
Do you eat a Mediterranean diet? Have you seen results?