Mediterranean diet increases lifespan

No surprise here…

“The Mediterranean diet was linked to prolonged survival in two different studies spanning multiple age groups, according to findings recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

“We already knew that the Mediterranean diet is able to reduce the risk of mortality in the general population, but we did not know whether it would be the same specifically for elderly people,” Marialaura Bonaccio, PhD, epidemiologist at the Istituto Neurologico Meditteraneo Neuromed in Italy, said in a press release.

Researchers conducted a longitudinal analysis on the dietary habits of 5,200 participants of a previously existing cohort.

They found that for each one-point increase in a patient’s Mediterranean diet score, the risk for mortality from a variety of causes declined: all-cause mortality (HR = 0.94; 95% CI 0.9-0.98); coronary artery disease/cerebrovascular disease mortality (HR = 0·91; 95% CI, 0.83-0.99) and non-cardiovascular/non-cancer mortality (HR = 0.89; 95% CI, 0.81-0.96).”

Source: Mediterranean diet increases lifespan

Study: Mediterranean Diet Linked to Improved Gestational Diabetes Outcomes

“Women with gestational diabetes who were on a Mediterranean diet for 3 months had improved glycemic levels, that were comparable to pregnant women with normal glucose levels, a new study from Madrid, Spain suggests.

The objective of the study was to assess whether Mediterranean diet-based medical nutrition therapy facilitates near-normoglycemia in women with gestational diabetes.

“Medical nutrition therapy based on a MedDiet enhanced with extra virgin olive oil and pistachios, thus with a high-fat content, is associated with glycemic control and with a reduction in gestational diabetes-related adverse perinatal outcomes,” Dr. Alfonso Calle-Pascual, one of the study authors told dLife.”

Source: Mediterranean Diet Linked to Improved Gestational Diabetes Outcomes, Study | dLife

Mediterranean Diet Associated with 41% Risk Reduction for Macular Degeneration, a Leading Cause of Blindness

I thought we already knew this…

Protecting a patient’s eyes may be more heavily influenced by diet than previously thought. A new study, which analyzed data from a pair of previous study populations, found that people aged 55 and over who maintained a Mediterranean-style diet reduced their risk of developing late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 41%.

Source: Mediterranean Diet Associated with 41% Risk Reduction for AMD | MD Magazine

Recipe: Greek Salad

Greek salad with canned salmon

This recipe makes three large servings. Adjust it to make more or fewer servings. Fish is a prominent component of the Mediterranean diet so I like to have fish as my protein with this Greek Salad. Cold-water fatty fish, with their high omega-3 fatty acid content, may be the most healthful.

Spinach and kale have more vital nutrients than Romaine lettuce, so feel free to increase the spinach/kale and reduce the Romaine amounts. But I wouldn’t go more than 50:50 the first time you make this.


2-3 oz fresh spinach or kale, chopped

10 oz romaine lettuce, chopped

2 large tomatoes (12 oz), chopped

1 can pitted black olives, drained (6 oz after draining) or pitted kalamata olives

1/2 red onion (2 oz prepped), diced or sliced

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 large (11 oz) cucumber, peeled (or not) and chopped

For the dressing:

6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp dried oregano

juice of 1/2 lemon (1 Tbsp)

1.5 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

Salt and pepper to taste

Extra lemon juice on fish or salad, to taste

Choose your protein:

  • 21-24  oz canned cooked salmon or fresh cooked salmon (baked, roasted, or pan-fried but not breaded)
  • or 15 oz canned albacore tuna (packed in water, drained)
  •          or 20 0z other fish of your choice (not breaded)
  • or 12 oz cooked steak
  • or 21-24 oz boiled shrimp
  • or 18 oz chicken breast (boneless, roasted or baked or pan-fried but not breaded)


Rinse lettuce? In a very large bowel, place the lettuce, spinach or kale, cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, olives, and cheese.

Then make your dressing. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and sugar. Poor the dressing over the salad then toss thoroughly.

The serving size is one third of all this. You should have about 12 cups of salad, so a serving is four cups. Divide your protein of choice into thirds and serve 1/3 in chunks on top of the salad or on the side. Salt and pepper to taste.

If you’re having fish as your protein, you can squirt some lemon juice on it for extra zing.

If you’re preparing this ahead of mealtime, chop and combine all the salad vegetables, then add the dressing and cheese just before serving.

Number of servings: 3 (4 cups of salad per serving)

Nutrient analysis per serving with 7-8 oz canned salmon (

Calories: 840

Calories from fat: 61%

Calories from carbohydrate: 11%

Calories from protein: 28%

Fiber: 9 g

Protein grams: 56

Prominent features (over 50% of RDA): Vitamin D, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin, calcium, copper, iron, niacin phosphorus, riboflavin, selenium.


Remember the Ol’ Milk Diet?

hiking, Arizona, Steve Parker MD,

Tom’s Thumb trail in Scottsdale, AZ

I recall a milk diet to treat stomach ulcers in the mid-20th century. Tagamet changed that!

I’ve been reading scientific articles on low-energy liquid diets for weight loss and diabetes remission, and ran across a reference to a milk diet. I found impressive results in a 16-week study.

This was a small randomized trial that enrolled 45 very fat folks — BMI 41-47, average weight 122 kg (268 lb), mostly women — and assigned them to one of three diets:

  1. Control: conventional balanced diet of normal foods providing about 800 calories/day and at least 36 grams of protein.
  2. Milk: “variable combination of full cream or semi-skimmed milk and unsweetened yoghurt,” about 800 calories/day. BTW, a cup (240 ml) of whole milk has 150 calories.
  3. Milk Plus: same as the milk diet plus “unlimited amount of a single food selected by the patient on each day of the week. Of these seven extra foods, three were a fruit or vegetable, two were a high protein food, and two were a “favourite” food. The seven foods were repeated on the same day of successive weeks.” (If you understand this, you’re smarter than me, which wouldn’t be unusual.) Average calories were 1,350/day.

The researchers figured these adults were eating about 2,500 calories/day at baseline. Diabetics were excluded.


The Milk group lost the most weight. Eleven of the 14 participants completed the 16-week study, with an average weight loss of 11.2 kg (24.6 lb). Constipation was the only “serious” side effect reported. The authors admitted that deficiencies in some vitamins and iron might be a problem, but cited a similar but longer trial (24 weeks) that found no such deficiencies.

Eleven of the 17 in the Milk Plus group persevered for the whole 16 weeks. Average weight loss was 8.2 kg (18 lb).

Nine of the 14 in the Control Group were able to put up with it for the duration. Average weight loss was only 2.6 kg (5.7 lb). I suspect they had a bit of a compliance problem. When you weigh 268 lb, a 5.7 lb loss isn’t much.

“Analysis of compliance (not reported) showed that it was similar for the two milk diets but much lower for the conventional diet.”


The researchers opine that…

  • “Patients are more likely to respond to a simple diet which they have not tried before than to advice on conventional diets.”
  • Probably the best strategy is to rotate diets,…[to prevent compliance from falling].”

I wonder how well the Milk diet would work for someone who weighs 205 lb (93 kg) and just wants to lose 25 lb (11.4 kg).

I wonder how important are the exact proportions of “full cream or semi-skimmed milk and unsweetened yoghurt.”

As with all diets, weight regain will be a problem after the 16 weeks.

The Milk diet might be a good temporary option for someone who wants to lose more excess weight but has hit a weight-loss plateau in their current regimen.

I’m skeptical about the nutritional adequacy of the Milk diet.

My Advanced Mediterranean Diet is actually two diets, making diet rotation easy. And I tell you the secrets to prevention of weight regain!

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Summerbell, C.D., et al. Randomised controlled trial of novel, simple, and well supervised weight reducing diets in outpatients. British Medical Journal, 317: 1487-1489. November 28, 1998.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one



Macular Degeneration: Mediterranean diet cuts risks of age-related blindness

From Xinhua..

Researchers from the European Union (EU) have found mounting evidence that the Mediterranean diet provides a better and more balanced lifestyle in daily consumption of food varieties that helps prevent potential blindness in later stages of life, said a study released Sunday.The EU scientists expanded their research on previous studies and discovered that a poor diet plays an important role in developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the United States.In analyzing the connection between genes and lifestyle on the development of AMD, the researchers found that people who maintain a Mediterranean diet, which features less meat but more fish, vegetables, fruits, legumes, unrefined grains and olive oil, cuts their risk of developing late-stage AMD by 41 percent.

Source: Mediterranean diet cuts risks of age-related blindness: study – Xinhua |

Which country does the Mediterranean diet actually come from? 

From SBS:

Rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil, the diet is famed for being low in saturated fats and high in lean sources of protein like fish. Red wine, drunk in moderation, is even a bonus inclusion.

Yet the term ‘Mediterranean diet’ is a bit loose. It’s meant to infer a particular ‘Mediterranean’ identity to a specific cultural dietary pattern. But the fact is, the Mediterranean basin spans 22 countries across Europe, Asia and Africa, and each country along the Mediterranean Sea boasts a different diet, religion and culture.

Source: Which country does the Mediterranean diet actually come from? | SBS Food