I have long been an advocate of the Mediterranean Diet. An article in today's New England Journal of Medicine reports that a randomized clinical trial with over 7,000 volunteer adults showed that the those that ate a Mediterranean diet cut their risk of heart disease by 30%. They further concluded that it is the type of fat that is important, not the amount.
One third of the participants served as the control group and followed an American Heart Association low fat diet. The remaining two-thirds followed a Mediterranean diet, with one third supplementing their diet wih 30 grams of nuts (a mixture of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) and the second intervention group adding 50 milliliters of virgin olive oil to their diet. Click here to read a more complete summary of the research findings. The study was actually stopped ahead of schedule because there was such a difference between the two intervention groups and the control.
Not sure what a Mediterranean diet is? Click here to get a synopsis from WebMD. The bottom line is that one should eat incorporate monunsaturated fats, fruits and vegetables, legumes/beans, nuts, and olive oil in one's diet. Fats from unrefined sources, such as nuts and olive oil, are better than saturated fts from animal sources.
Click here to download a colorful illustrationof the Mediterranean Food Pyramid from Oldways.