Let's start with the facts.....there are more than 20 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, and they all have completely different diets. Some use olive oil, some don't. Some eat fish, some don't. Some devour feta cheese, some don't. Some drink alcohol, some don't. There are Mediterranean "diets" that these people eat, but there is no ONE Mediterranean diet. These people may have some foods in common--lots of fruits and vegetables, lots of fresh produce, and little or no meat. But, these diets vary drastically in other ways.
Unfortunately, one of the GREATEST MYTHS that came out of all this is that olive oil is heart healthy....this is one of the WORST LIES we have been told! We really should have paid more attention to the data before making such a hasty decision regarding olive oil. It's oil....it clogs our arteries...oil is oil is oil. There is no getting around it.
Take a look at a "sterling example" of a country eating the Mediterranean diet...Spain. According to one of the most comprehensive recent studies of Spanish nutrition and health, more than 50% of the 2,000 adults studied were either overweight or obese, 33% had high blood pressure, 65% had high cholesterol levels, and about 30% had three or more cardiovascular risk factors that could be "fixed" by CHANGES to this lifestyle. According to a physician at one of the prestigious hospitals, "The prevalence of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol in Spain have all risen at an alarming rate over the last 20 years and this is likely to cause future increases in bad health and death due to cardiovascular disease."
Researchers believe this myth started about 40 years ago based on data from rural areas that wasn't quite conducted properly. The information that has been translated into the Mediterranean diet originally arose from a 1950s study that found low rates of heart disease among people living on the island of Crete. While these people did eat some olives, avocados, olive oil and other fats, their diets were mostly made up of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and legumes, plus a small amount of fish. Part of the reason for this was these people could not afford butter, cheese and meat. As soon as they could, however, they got fat and sick. The rates of obesity and heart disease on Crete have been rising steadily since the time of the original study. Visit the island of Crete today and you will find obesity centers and billboards advertising gastric-bypass surgery placed in downtown areas.
So, for your best health, put down the olive oil and skip the myth about the Mediterranean diet. Instead, follow the time-honored and PROVEN PRINCIPLES of a healthy diet by people all over the world--A Whole-Food, Plant-Strong diet!
It doesn't get any better than that.....