Health Studies

Quality of Life Is Better with Mediterranean Diet

Spanish scientists analyzed data from 11,015 university graduates to study associations between Health Related Quality of Life (HRQL) and adherence to the Mediterranean Diet. They found a significant direct association between following the Med Diet and improved vitality and general health, both among those who initially ate the Med way, and those whose adherence to the Med Diet improved over the four year follow-up of the study.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
, August 17, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]

Going Back to Whole Grains in India

The whole grains traditionally used in India have been replaced by more refined grains including white rice and flour.  This change may contribute to chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health recommend strategies to reverse this trend and suggest that whole grains such as quinoa can be easily used in traditional Indian recipes.
Nutrition Reviews. 2011 Aug; 69(8):479-88. (Dixit et al.)

Seaweed Beneficial to Children's Blood Pressure

459 Japanese pre-schoolers were studied by researchers from Gifu University in Japan. They found that the boys with the highest seaweed intake had significantly lower diastolic blood pressure readings, while the girls with the highest seaweed intake had significantly lower systolic blood pressure.
Nutrition Journal. August 10, 2011; 10:83 (Wada et al.)

Income Levels and Urban Life Increase Weight

A study conducted by the University of Botswana explored associations among food consumption patterns, overweight/obesity, and socioeconomic status and urbanization. Scientists surveyed a nationwide cross-sectional sample of 746 adolescent schoolchildren in secondary schools of cities, towns and villages in Botswana.  The study found that overweight and obesity are associated with greater socio-economic status (SES), city residence and a snack-food diet pattern.  Students belonging to a higher SES reported significantly more daily servings of snack foods and fewer servings of traditional diet foods than those in a lower SES.  In general, students in cities ate significantly more servings of snacks and fewer servings of traditional foods compared with those in urban and rural villages.  The findings suggest that as nutritional transition progresses through urbanization and SES levels in Botswana, it will be important to increase the availability of fruits and consumption of traditional foods, while decreasing snack portion sizes.
Public Health Nutr. 2011 Aug 2:1-8. (Maruapula et al.)

Sleep Quality Drops with Latino Acculturation

Sleep duration and quality can affect health, so scientists at the Cleveland Clinic set out to compare sleep patterns in 1046 Mexican Americans (620 born in Mexico and the rest in the U.S.) with 5160 non Hispanic Americans. The Mexico-born immigrants had the healthiest sleep patterns, and increased acculturation (measured by English spoken at home rather than Spanish) correlated to an increased risk of poor sleep.
Sleep. August 1, 2011; 34(8):1021-31 (Seicean et al.)

Women Live Longer with the Mediterranean Diet

Researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands followed a group of 120,852 men and women for ten years, starting when the group was 55-69 years old. They assessed each person on four factors – adherence to the Mediterranean Diet, non-smoking, normal weight, and regular physical activity – to learn which factors helped people to live longer. Scoring high on all four factors was strongly related to reduced mortality, adding an estimated 8.4 years to men's lives and 15 years to women's lives. Among women, adherence to the Med Diet in particular was significantly related to lower mortality.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 27, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]

Med Diet Trumps Weight Loss in Reducing LDL

If you improve your eating habits, lose weight, and subsequently lower your LDL ("bad") cholesterol, is it the weight loss or the healthier eating that's responsible? That's the question scientists at Quebec's Laval University set out to answer when they asked 19 men with metabolic syndrome to follow a control Western diet (5 weeks), a Mediterranean diet without cutting calories (5 weeks), a calorie-restricted free-living diet (20 weeks), and then a calorie-restricted Mediterranean Diet (5 weeks). They found that the Mediterranean Diet in the absence of weight loss made the most significant reductions in unhealthy blood lipids.
British Journal of Nutrition
, July 26, 2011: 1-7 [Epub ahead of print]

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risks from Atrial Fibrillation

In a case-controlled study at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, scientists compared 400 subjects with known atrial fibrillation to 400 matched controls with no evidence of this type of abnormal heart rhythm. They found that those with atrial fibrillation scored lower on the Mediterranean Diet score, and had fewer antioxidants in their diets. Researchers think that the hearts of the controls, with their healthier Med-style diets, were more likely to experience "spontaneous conversion" – a quick self-correction –of any arrhythmias that did occur
Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease, July 26, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]

Risk of Diabetes Reduced with Greater Med Diet Adherence

As part of Europe's EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) Project, scientists based in London studied almost 12,000 cases of Type 2 diabetes and their correlation to Mediterranean Diet adherence. After scoring subjects on nine dietary components characteristic of the Med Diet, they found that those adhering most closely to the Mediterranean Diet were 12% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes; those with medium adherence reduced their risk by 7%.

Diabetes Care, July 25, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]

Diverticular Disease and High-Fiber Vegetarian Diet

A study conducted by the University of Oxford Cancer Epidemiology Unit examined the associations of a vegetarian diet and dietary fiber intake with risk of diverticular disease. The participants included 47,033 men and women living in England and Scotland of whom 33% consumed a vegetarian diet.  After a mean follow-up of 11.6 years, there were 812 cases of diverticular disease, 806 admissions to the hospital and six deaths. After adjusting for confounding variables, vegetarians had a 31% lower risk of diverticular disease compared with meat eaters.  Similarly, there was also an inverse association with dietary fiber intake.  Participants who consumed 25.5 grams of fiber or more a day for women and 26.1 g/day for men had a 41% lower risk of diverticular disease compared with those consuming less than 14 g/day of fiber. 
British Medical Association 2011 Jul 19; 343:d4131 (Crowe et al.)

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