A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine followed over 7,000 people in Spain to examine the link between the Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular risk. The results showed that a diet rich in olive oil or nuts corresponded to about a 30 percent lower risk of having a heart attack, stroke or dying from a cardiovascular cause.
That’s great news and just confirms previous studies linking the Mediterranean diet to better health. So enjoy those healthy fats. They are good for you!
Remember that the Mediterranean diet is also rich in fish, grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. And the diet is low in dairy products, red meat and processed foods.
So not all fats are created equal.
If you were around in the 1990s like I was, you will remember the “fat-free” craze that hit the nation. Many of us grew up with a two-fold misguided belief system about fat: 1. That all fat is bad, evil, will make you die and 2. That as long it is “fat-free” you can eat as much as you want.
How wrong we were. This mentality led to many of us overeating sugary, processed foods that in any amount were not providing us any nutrients and at these larger amounts, may have been doing us harm.
Now it is clear we need the healthy fats—like the kind found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and fish—to help us maintain a strong heart and leaner body.
Is there any kind of fat you ALWAYS need to avoid? YES! Trans-fats and hydrogenated fats found in margarine, Crisco, most fast food, and many processed baked good. For information on health consequences of trans-fats, stay tuned for my upcoming blog post!
And here is the NPR post about the study if you want to read more!