Fat is your friend. We already thought this was true, but now scientists definitely really think it’s true. With a new review of 53 studies on the Mediterranean diet published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, scientists are reiterating that “a lot” of fat — as long as it’s the good, monounsaturated kind that’s found in foods like salmon, nuts, seeds, oils, and avocado — is good for you. It’s one of the many reasons people won’t shut up about the Mediterranean diet.
For this paper, researchers defined the Mediterranean diet as eating plans that had no restrictions on fat intake and included at least two of the following components: high ratio of monounsaturated-to-saturated fat, high fruit and vegetable intake, high legume intake, high grain and cereal intake, moderate red-wine consumption, moderate dairy intake, and low meat (but high fish) consumption.
Following the Mediterranean diet didn’t seem to impact the age when people died, but the researchers did find that it was associated with a lower risk of “cardiovascular events,” meaning heart attacks or strokes, as well as a reduced incidence of breast cancer and type-2 diabetes. Plus, people who better adhered to the Mediterranean diet were 14 percent less likely to die from cancer than those who didn’t stick to it as well.
The lead researcher told the New York Daily News that the study supports the idea that low-fat diets have led us astray. “It turns out that the obesity epidemic in this country is probably more due to our increased consumption of refined grains and added sugar and not so much from our fat consumption,” says Hanna Bloomfield, MD, MPH, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. Up to 40 percent of our daily calories can come from healthy fats, she says.
Repeat after me: (Good) fat good, sugar bad.