Huge U.S. Study Confirms Health and Longevity Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

This is a reprint of my very first blog post, from December 24, 2007, at the old Advanced Mediterranean Diet Blog

We now have results of the first U.S. study on mortality and the Mediterranean dietary pattern.  380,000 people, aged 50-71, were surveyed on their dietary habits and scored on their conformity to the Mediterranean diet.  They were visited again 10 years later.  As you would expect, some of them died.  12,105 to be exact: 5985 from cancer, 3451 from cardiovascular disease, 2669 from other causes.  However, the people with the highest adherence to the Mediterranean diet had better survival overall, and specifically better odds of avoiding death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Compared to the people with low conformity to the Mediterranean diet, the high conformers were 15-20% less likely to die over the 10 years of the study.  The study authors, funded by the National Institutes of Health, noted eight similar studies in Europe and one in Australia with similar results.

Once again, my promotion of the Mediterranean diet is vindicated by the scientific literature.  I’m not aware of any other diet that can prove anywhere near this degree of health benefit.  If you are, please share

Reference: Mitrou, Panagiota N., et al.  Mediterranean Dietary Pattern and Prediction of All-Cause Mortality in a US Population,  Archives of Internal Medicine, 167 (2007): 2461-2468.

4 responses to “Huge U.S. Study Confirms Health and Longevity Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

  1. Of course the jury is still out, and of course genomes may be slightly different, and of course other lifestyle factors may be involved, but the almost nonexistent diseases of civilization in indigenous societies suggest that there may be a diet much superior to Mediterranean. A 100% reduction in modern diseases seems much better than a 20% reduction (which could very well be countered by the next similar study).

    Until more evidence comes in, when the missionaries come to my door with their sacks of sugar and flour (including whole-grain), I think I’ll respectfully decline.

    • Hey there, ProudDaddy.
      I just started a two-month paleo diet trial. No refined sugar or grains of any kind for me either.
      I wish it weren’t so hard (impossible?) to do long-term randomized diet trials in humans.


  2. Weight-loss or maintenance as the weight objective? I’d like to suggest maintenance, as it is the long term health consequences that are most meaningful to me. Hypocaloric diets skew many of the results.