Yet another study has proved that the Mediterranean diet can stave off or even reverse metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. This time, it was Greek researchers at Harokopio University in Athens who looked over 35 clinical trials to draw the conclusion that eating foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, olive oil, poultry, and fish, with very little red meat, can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Why, oh, why is this STILL being studied? Do people really need to hear once again that eating healthy, real, whole foods will make us healthier? Are we that stupid that we don't get it by now that a diet consisting mostly of McNasty and Fat King fast foods, processed junk, and lab-created sugar-laden soda equals fat/miserable/disease?
Maybe researchers are not only trying to drill it into our thick skulls that the Mediterranean way is the best, but they're also attempting to get lawmakers or food manufacturers on their side, too? (Good luck with that.)
I'm thinking that may be part of the motivation, because there is a bit of economic backlash against the push for eating Mediterranean-style. Dr. Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, a nutrition professor from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, talked to Reuters about the study and seemed to worry about the cost of a Mediterranean diet for most people. She said of the study's findings:
This speaks to the need to improve availability of these kinds of foods to people who don't have a lot of extra money to spend.
I totally agree, because it is completely disheartening to walk into the grocery store and think that you can buy four dollar-menu fast food burgers for the same price as one pound of apples or one package of romaine hearts. But, in general, I don't think the average American is struggling with budgeting for or affording the produce, the lean meats, the beans. Some of us are just too damn lazy/picky/addicted to crap foods instead. I'll bet there are people who tune into The Biggest Loser every week, see what it takes to lose weight and reverse risk of heart disease/diabetes, but who still eat KFC for dinner. (Sorry, the white meat in the Mediterranean diet doesn't count if it's fried.)
Experts also warn that a lot of people are confused by what "Mediterranean diet" means. They think, "Hey, I can keep eating my refined carbs and trans fatty foods, but just add olive oil, right?!" No -- it doesn't work like that. Good fats (monounsaturated ones in olive oil) don't cancel out the bad ones. And you can't just pick and choose and go on "diets." In fact, they shouldn't even call this the Mediterranean diet. It's a lifestyle, and until many of us change ours, we're going to remain obese and headed to Heart Disease Town.
What do you think about the Mediterranean diet?
Image via EverJean/Flickr