Many fad diets come and go, but one diet in particular has stood the test of time. Anyone familiar with the Mediterranean diet will most likely tell you that by pouring olive oil over your salad and including a glass of wine with your dinner will transform your present diet into a "heart healthy" Mediterranean diet. Sounds pretty attractive, doesn't it? Preventing heart disease has never been so easy!
Thankfully, Jeff Novick has come to our rescue. In the below ten minute video excerpt, Jeff breaks down and analyzes the scientific data using illustrations and graphs. He explains that the longest lived people in the Mediterranean came exclusively from the Isle of Crete. At the time their diets were studied, they were living in the post-war era, where food was scarce and hard manual labor was paramount for growing crops. These living conditions attributed to the health and longevity of the people in Crete, since rich food wasn't available and meals were based on the whole, plant food that was grown.
Recent studies though, reveal that population groups living in the Mediterranean today have double and tripled their meat consumption, as well as decreased the amount of whole plant food. The once "heart healthy" diet has become considerably more Westernized, creating the same diet-related diseases seen in America. (Obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.) Jeff also points out how wine and olive oil became symbolic of the Mediterranean diet. Among the group recently studied, those that consumed the most olive oil had the highest rate of heart disease whereas those that ate the most plant food didn't have heart disease.
The most compelling evidence that demonstrates the adverse effects of olive oil comes from a notable study done in 1999 by Dr. Robert Vogel. Results from a brachial artery tourniquet test revealed that olive oil impairs the endothelial cells lining our arteries, constricting blood flow by 31% for up to 6 hours.
Based on studies such as these, plant-based advocates do not recommend the use of any refined oils. There are many ways to replace oils in baking and salad dressings as well as sauteing vegetables.
For more information regarding olive oil, see: