The Best Diet In The Whole World
By Evan L Lipkis MD
This isn’t a secret as it is all over the internet, however, following a simple diet is a fabulous way to reduce a wide variety of diseases. This well known diet lengthens telomeres or the ends of chromosomes. Short telomeres dictate an earlier demise but long telomeres give longevity its good name.
So what is it?
The Mediterranean diet is the short answer and it was also ranked the top diet for 2019 by US News and World Report. https://health.usnews.com/best-diet
Spanish doctors have put this diet to the ultimate test in the PREDIMED Trial — a large, randomized, primary-prevention trial.
About 7500 people (age range, 55–80) without known heart disease but with cardiac risk factors such as diabetes, were randomized to one of three diets:
Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (at least 4 tablespoons daily)
Mediterranean diet supplemented with a daily 30-g serving of walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts
The trial was stopped prematurely nearly 5 years later because the results were so amazing and easy to discern.
There was a 30% reduction in the combined outcome of heart attacks, strokes and death from heart disease.
Such events occurred significantly less often in the two Mediterranean-diet groups than in the control group who ate the low fat diet.
But I dug deeper. The news actually gets even better.
What is even more startling is that none of these groups really followed a Mediterranean or even a low fat diet! Like most people, the study groups just couldn’t stick to a diet. Realistically, who likes to follow a diet 24/7? It takes discipline and regular follow up with a health care provider or dietician for most.
But they could make simple additions to their diets.
So the moral of the story is that adding nuts a few times a week or adding a lot of olive oil daily lowered cardiovascular disease. People can readily add one of these two healthy additions and the subjects in the study were 91% compliant with the nuts.
Dr. Lip's Tips: I think most of us will like this study because it is a real world trial. Human beings are far from perfect and we have a lot of trouble following through with repetitive dietary advice. But even if we mess up, we are adept at adding important ingredients to our diet.
I don’t know if I could take 4 tablespoons of olive oil a day but I most certainly could add 3 servings of nuts per week to my diet. Couldn’t you? Now, don’t coat those nuts with sugar or add more salt. The trial used 50% walnuts, 25% hazelnuts and 25% almonds. Most nuts are healthy so you don’t need to be picky about your choice of nuts.
If you have more discipline, then go for the whole enchilada and follow the Mediterranean diet which consists of nuts, olive oil, whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, a little alcohol and fish.
Please don’t drown your fish in butter and eat a portfolio of different fish; that way you will avoid mercury issues which is quite rare anyways.
Whole grains will often be labeled but the easiest whole grain to remember is popcorn. I add olive oil to this snack after I air pop it. This is one of the healthiest snacks I know. Movie popcorn is loaded with saturated fat and calories. It’s like putting diesel into a gas engine. In other words, it’s not good for you when we mess with the popcorn.
Finally, there are additional studies showing less cognitive decline, diabetes and cancer with a Mediterranean diet. Now that is a great deal!
Evan L Lipkis MD
Check with your health care provider before implementing any strategies in Doctor In Your House.