The jury is in: the Mediterranean diet saves lives, and plenty of them. Just this week at a cardiology conference in Rome (where else?) another large study confirmed it.
So why is it that I so rarely prescribe the Mediterranean diet for my patients?
To answer that, we must examine the dietary advice of GPs in general and, unfortunately, of me in particular.
But first, let’s look at the new evidence from the Moli-sani study.
A group of 1197 Italians with a history of cardiovascular disease were followed for eight years, and their degree of adherence to a Mediterranean diet was assessed on a 9-point score. The all-cause mortality was 37% lower in those who followed the diet (score 6-9) compared to those who didn’t (score 0-3).
That 37% is huge, by the standards of most medication interventions. In comparison, taking a statin (cholesterol medication) reduces mortality by around 25%.
Ah, but association is not causation, you rightly insist! The study can’t show that the diet is the actual cause of the reduction in deaths. Yet in this case, it probably is.