Losing weight should be more than just a temporary choice. Although it’s true that getting a slimmer figure can improve our self-esteem, we should always bear in mind our overall health. For that reason, when we want to reduce weight with our diet, we should follow a few guidelines for the process to be effective and secure.
In 1948, Doctor Leland Allbaugh studied the Cretans way of life, comparing it with the mainland Greeks and Americans ones. Later, Doctor Ancel Keys took the baton and subsequently conducted a study on coronary diseases (those that affect the coronary arteries, which carry blood to the heart) and their relationship with traces of cholesterol in blood.
The study carried out by Doctor Keys in Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, the USA and Japan, observed that the incidence of diseases affecting these arteries, and therefore the heart, were lower in the Mediterranean area and in Japan.
Then, they concluded that these differences were due to:
- A simple and not very abundant diet, based mainly on plant products.
- A high level of physical exercise, since we are talking about societies that at that time where working in the agriculture sector, which was still their predominant economic activity.
The Keys study showed that, despite the fact that Mediterranean countries and Japan consumed a greater amount of fat than the rest of countries, their risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease was in comparison much lower. The reason for this statement is in the type of fat consumed: first, from extra virgin olive oil, which helps to reduce cholesterol in blood; secondly, from consuming of fish, and white meat; and, finally, due to the moderate wine intake.
PREDIMED is a study directed by Doctor Estruch and carried out among 7447 volunteers of both sexes, and between 55 and 80 years old with a high risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Its development took place in Spain between 2003 (volunteers recruitment) and 2013 (study publication).
The volunteers had to be diabetic or meet three of these conditions: be smokers, suffer from hypertension, high cholesterol, overweight or a family history of arterial or heart disease.
Once these volunteers were selected, they were divided into two groups: the first of them followed a Mediterranean diet with a fat intake coming from extra virgin olive oil and nuts (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts), while the second followed a low-fat diet.
The first group within the Mediterranean diet was been delivered 1 litre of extra virgin olive oil per week.
Neither group was given indications about calorie consumption and physical activity, so these are not variables attributed to the study results.
PREDIMED study conclusions were decisive: the first group volunteers, who take a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil and nuts, reduced their probability of suffering a major cardiovascular event (stroke, myocardial infarction or cardiovascular death) in a 30%.
CAs we may have seen, the first differential factor between both groups – and hence, between both diets – is the intake of the extra virgin olive oil. That is, the use of extra virgin olive oil becomes the most important element in the Mediterranean diet, being directly responsible for the reduction of cholesterol in blood, which can be the cause of different cardiovascular diseases.
In 2014, a second study, known as PREDIMED Plus, started. This is more focused on obesity and overweight reduction – problems increasingly present in the world population – by the Mediterranean diet.
During this second study, 6784 participants of both sexes, between 55 and 75 years old, were suffering from overweight or obesity. In this study two groups have also been established.
The first group, with the following characteristics:
- Mediterranean diet supplemented with oil or nuts.
- No indication of physical activity.
- No indication of calorie intake.
And the intervention group, with the following characteristics:
- Mediterranean hypocaloric diet (30% reduction) supplemented with oil or nuts.
- Addition of physical activity (45-minute walk a day).
- And behavioural therapy for weight loss.
Results will be published in 2021.
Treurer is 100% Mediterranean extra virgin olive oil. The olive grove, located in inland Mallorca, is made up of 4,500 olive trees of the Arbequina variety, which produce an excellent balanced extra virgin olive oil