Category Archives: Longevity

Does the Mediterranean Diet Really Prevent Chronic Diseases?


Told ya so!

A couple PhD nutritionists with the University of Arizona Cancer Center reviewed the literature in favor of the healthy Mediterranean diet in 2017. They agree with me that the health claims hold up to scrutiny. From the abstract:

A large body of research data suggests that traditional dietary habits and lifestyle unique to the Mediterranean region (Mediterranean diet, MD) lower the incidence of chronic diseases and improve longevity. These data contrast with troubling statistics in the United States and other high income countries pointing to an increase in the incidence of chronic diseases and the projected explosion in cost of medical care associated with an aging population. In 2013, the MD was inscribed by UNESCO in the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans included the MD as a healthy dietary pattern. Therefore, specific objectives of this article are to provide an overview of the nutritional basis of this healthful diet, its metabolic benefits, and its role in multiple aspects of disease prevention and healthy aging.

Source: Mediterranean Diet and Prevention of Chronic Diseases

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one


Dietary Fat Linked to Loss of Skeletal Muscle Mass in Women

Loss of skeletal muscle is one hallmark of the aging process. Look around and you’ll see it everywhere. That muscle loss, in turn, contributes to dependency and falls. But as always, remember that correlation is not causation. So the study results may not hold up over time. And we don’t know if they apply to men. Click the link below for all the juicy details.

“To our knowledge, this is the first population-based study to demonstrate an association between a comprehensive range of dietary fat intake and fat-free mass.”

Source: Dietary Fat and Fatty Acid Profile Are Associated with Indices of Skeletal Muscle Mass in Women Aged 18–79 Years | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic

How Does the Mediterranean Diet Protect Against Disease?

From the Journals of Gerontology:

Consuming a Mediterranean diet rich in minimally processed plant foods has been associated with a reduced risk of developing multiple chronic diseases and increased life expectancy. Data from several randomized clinic trials have demonstrated a beneficial effect in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, atrial fibrillation and breast cancer. The exact mechanism by which an increased adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet exerts its favorable effects is not known. However, accumulating evidence indicates that the five most important adaptations induced by the Mediterranean dietary pattern are: (1) lipid lowering effect, (2) protection against oxidative stress, inflammation and platelet aggregation, (3) modification of hormones and growth factors involved in the pathogenesis of cancer, (4) inhibition of nutrient sensing pathways by specific amino acid restriction, and (4) gut microbiota-mediated production of metabolites influencing metabolic health. More studies are needed to understand how single modifications of nutrients typical of the Mediterranean diet interact with energy intake, energy expenditure, and the microbiome in modulating the key mechanisms that promote cellular, tissue, and organ health during aging.

PURE Study: Higher Carb Consumption Linked to More Deaths

Here’s the abstract of a new epidemiological study that investigated the relationships between diet, cardiovascular disease, and death rates. I don’t have the entire article. My sense is that the 18 countries studied are mostly non-Western:


The relationship between macronutrients and cardiovascular disease and mortality is controversial. Most available data are from European and North American populations where nutrition excess is more likely, so their applicability to other populations is unclear.


The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study is a large, epidemiological cohort study of individuals aged 35–70 years (enrolled between Jan 1, 2003, and March 31, 2013) in 18 countries with a median follow-up of 7·4 years (IQR 5·3–9·3). Dietary intake of 135 335 individuals was recorded using validated food frequency questionnaires. The primary outcomes were total mortality and major cardiovascular events (fatal cardiovascular disease, non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, and heart failure). Secondary outcomes were all myocardial infarctions, stroke, cardiovascular disease mortality, and non-cardiovascular disease mortality. Participants were categorised into quintiles of nutrient intake (carbohydrate, fats, and protein) based on percentage of energy provided by nutrients. We assessed the associations between consumption of carbohydrate, total fat, and each type of fat with cardiovascular disease and total mortality. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) using a multivariable Cox frailty model with random intercepts to account for centre clustering.


During follow-up, we documented 5796 deaths and 4784 major cardiovascular disease events. Higher carbohydrate intake was associated with an increased risk of total mortality (highest [quintile 5] vs lowest quintile [quintile 1] category, HR 1·28 [95% CI 1·12–1·46], ptrend=0·0001) but not with the risk of cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular disease mortality. Intake of total fat and each type of fat was associated with lower risk of total mortality (quintile 5 vs quintile 1, total fat: HR 0·77 [95% CI 0·67–0·87], ptrend<0·0001; saturated fat, HR 0·86 [0·76–0·99], ptrend=0·0088; monounsaturated fat: HR 0·81 [0·71–0·92], ptrend<0·0001; and polyunsaturated fat: HR 0·80 [0·71–0·89], ptrend<0·0001). Higher saturated fat intake was associated with lower risk of stroke (quintile 5 vs quintile 1, HR 0·79 [95% CI 0·64–0·98], ptrend=0·0498). Total fat and saturated and unsaturated fats were not significantly associated with risk of myocardial infarction or cardiovascular disease mortality.


High carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality, whereas saturated fat had an inverse association with stroke. Global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered in light of these findings.

Source: Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study – The Lancet

Is Drinking Tea Healthful?

Green tea isn’t always green

From P.D. Mangan’s new book “Best Supplements for Men“:

Green tea, which is commonly drunk in China and Japan, is associated with lower rates of cancer, about 30% lower in those who drank the highest amounts of green tea compared to the lowest. Deaths from cardiovascular disease were about 25% lower in the highest consumption group versus the lowest. This is of course epidemiological evidence, meaning that it can’t show whether green tea actually prevented disease, or that there’s some other connection such as that heather people drank more green tea.

Laboratory and other evidence, however, provides some good reasons to think that green tea is the real deal when it comes to sides prevention.

A recent study of the elderly in Singapore found tea consumption linked to much lower risk of neurocognitive decline in women and carriers of the “dementia gene” APOE ε4.

P.D. suggests that the health-promoting dose of tea is 3 to 5 cups a day, and black tea may be just as good as green.

Steve Parker, M.D.


Death By Alcohol Is Increasingly Popular Among White Women in U.S.

Perhaps she should reconsider

Perhaps she should reconsider

Did you wake up with a hangover today?

From the Washington Post:

“Drinking is killing twice as many middle-aged white women as it did 18 years ago.

Generally, middle age (age 35 to 54)  is not the time to die in modern societies. It is past teenage dangers, before the serious perils of age, and improved medical care and public-health campaigns are keeping more people alive.

So why are middle-aged white women dying more often even while death rates for other groups continue to go down? What are white women doing that is so different?

One simple answer is: a lot more drinking.

Source: Nine charts that show how white women are drinking themselves to death – The Washington Post

A bit off-topic, but I’d define middle-aged as 40 to 65.

From the same Post article:

“The Washington Post has spent the year crossing the country to look into causes and repercussions of the strange increase in deaths among middle-aged white women and men. Alcohol, opioids and suicide are important factors. See the full coverage here.”

Have We Reached Maximum Lifespan?

dementia, memory loss, Mediterranean diet, low-carb diet, glycemic index, dementia memory loss

“I don’t want to live that long if I’m disabled and a burden to others.”

Read the MNT article for details:

“Research, published this week in Nature, argues that humans have already achieved their maximum possible lifespan. The investigators believe that the oldest people on record have hit the ceiling of longevity.

New research challenges the notion that lifespan will increase indefinitely.

Alongside improvements in healthcare and diet, the human lifespan has steadily increased.

From 1900-2016, average life expectancy has gradually risen. Today, babies born in the United States can expect to live to 79. In 1900, it was just 47.

Since the 1970s, the age of the oldest people on earth has also risen. However, researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY, believe that we have now touched the upper limits of maximum age.”

Source: Have humans reached the maximum lifespan? – Medical News Today

Action Plan: Eat the Mediterranean diet to maximize your lifespan. Lose weight with this one.