Recently, I had the chance to speak with the author of “The Mediterranean Diet Plan,” Susan Zogheib, a registered dietician about her diet plan. Susan will be joining me for an upcoming episode of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates this month (Sunday, June 24th). I wanted to share the highlights of conversation before YOU grocery shop this week so that you can discover the join of healthy eating this summer.
The Mediterranean diet is most famous for its benefit to heart health, decreasing the risk of heart disease by, in part, lowering levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and reducing mortality from cardiovascular conditions. It’s also been credited with a lower likelihood of certain cancers, like breast cancer, as well as conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. (1)
Although some studies have indicated that a ketogenic diet is associated with dyslipidemia (cholesterol and triglyceride perturbations), many of these results were obtained from studies on rodents and did not always agree with what the data show in human studies. A recent review summarized the controversy, highlighting the discrepancies in the literature. In part, the discordance is likely due to the exact composition of the diet, specific study design, as well as the metabolic differences between rodents and humans.
I read in the news that the DASH diet was supposed to be THE top-rated diet by experts, so I took a closer look with this book. I was disturbed instead by recommendations of processed low fat cheeses, low fat yoplait yogurt (so much sugar and un-pronounceable ingredients I don't even understand why this was suggested), and sugar-free Jello. I prefer a whole-foods, plant-based, low processed approach - so this diet definitely isn't for me. I think I'll keep looking.
I'm going to give the DASH diet a try. It sounds easy enough but haven't actually tried it yet. I enjoyed the book and am anxious to start the plan. I don't necessarily agree with the artificial sweeteners used. The book does have some good recipes that I want to try. I do think it's a good basic diet that you can adapt to fit your likes and needs. And as always including exercise with a diet will always help. This will hopefully help to accomplish one of my goal for the new year.
The Mediterranean diet wasn’t built as a weight loss plan — in fact, because it wasn’t developed at all, but is a style of eating of a region of people that evolved naturally over centuries, there’s no official way to follow it. But it’s popular because it’s a well-rounded approach to eating that isn’t restrictive. Two of the five Blue Zones — areas where people live longer and have lower rates of disease — are located in Mediterranean cities (Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy). (2) These places are known for having some of the lowest rates of heart disease and cancer worldwide. (3)
Chronic stress may increase levels of stress hormones such as cortisol in your body. This can cause increased hunger and result in weight gain. If you’re looking to lose weight, you should review possible ways to decrease or better handle excessive stress in your life. Although this often demands substantial changes, even altering small things – such as posture – may immediately affect your stress hormone levels, and perhaps your weight.
In a second study,2 a Harvard-led research team evaluated the benefit of a ketogenic diet in both children and adults with type 1 diabetes despite concerns about a possible negative effect on growth and development in children following such a restricted diet. These researchers report "exceptional" glucose control with little adverse effects. However, the participants were recruited from a closed Facebook group, TypeOneGrit, for people who follow a diet and diabetes program based on the recommendations in the Diabetes Solution,3 a book by Richard K Bernstein, MD, who devised this program to manage his own type 1 diabetes.
There are three instances where there’s research to back up a ketogenic diet, including to help control type 2 diabetes, as part of epilepsy treatment, or for weight loss, says Mattinson. “In terms of diabetes, there is some promising research showing that the ketogenic diet may improve glycemic control. It may cause a reduction in A1C — a key test for diabetes that measures a person’s average blood sugar control over two to three months — something that may help you reduce medication use,” she says.