Mediterranean Diets – Healthy?

It’s about that time of year when people close their website tabs on cooking recipes for Thanksgiving meals, and open tabs on diets to help lose weight from the extravagant meals they consumed over break. Not only have I done this regularly after every Thanksgiving break,  but i have looked at diets many times over the course of my life. I have to admit that i was a little pudgy boy when I was younger, which prompted me to enrich my mind with the numerous diet plans out there. The research for an appropriate diet led me to discover multitudinous diets out there; I did not know which to pick! Each diet seemed like the perfect fit, but there was no way I could try them all out!


Each diet plan stated numerous benefits for its diet, but as I kept researching, there were always some sort of negative side effect or problem with the diet. The low carb diet encourages excess intakes of fat and protein which can lead to high cholesterol. According to Dr. Freedhoff, the 2000 calorie diet might not provide enough macro- nutrients to sustain a healthy body. Ph.D  John Berardi states that the paleo diet does not take into account the evolution of our digestive tract to accurately depict the benefits of the diet. The list goes on and on for disadvantages of never-ending list of diets out there.

Once when I was in Colorado, I visited a new Mediterranean restaurant, Garbanzo. When I sat down to eat my food, I saw a message on the cup that had numerous facts and information about the incredible health effects of the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant based food, whole grains, legumes, and nuts! Skeptical enough, I thought it was a diet just like the others, but as i kept researching, I found that the diet worked on numerous individuals and had a profound effect on long lasting health. 

Through extensive research, I found that the Mediterranean diet improves health in many aspects of the body such as losing weight, improving cardiovascular function, as well as fighting diseases such as diabetes. Recently,a study found that the Mediterranean diet also helped combat breast cancer, so let’s take a look at the study possibly show all of these correlations! 

It is important to recognize that correlation does not equal causation. In each case, there can be confounding variables or even reverse causation in the data if the study is not observational. The studies here, however, are experimental so there is no chance of z variables or for reverse causation.

The first study analyzes whether the Mediterranean diet helps reduce the risks of contracting breast cancer. The JAMA internal medicine attempts to tackle this question. The null hypothesis of the experiment is that the Mediterranean diet does not reduce the risk of breast cancer in women. in correspondence with that, the alternative hypothesis is that the Mediterranean diet helps fight against breast cancer is women. The study tests 4,282 women in Spain. The subjects were randomly assigned to either a control group or the experimental group. In 2003, when the study began, the women in the control group were given advice to reduce their fat, while the experimental group was provided with a Mediterranean diet with nuts. In 2009, it was shown that 68% relatively lower risk of receiving malignant breast cancer.

The study seemed to be a longitudinal experiment that had numerous participants and a lengthy time to truly calculate and understand the results. The experiment here did not seem to suffer from the Texas Sharp Shooter problem because they used the Mediterranean diet as a identified variable to reduce the risk of the Y variable which is the chance of contracting breast cancer. The study also does not suffer from the File Drawer Problem because the study was published, and it also mentions the limits of the experiment: it was not completely random; the women were all white and had high risk of cardiovascular disease.

From this experiment, we can conclude that there is a good chance that the Mediterranean diet can help with  reducing the risk of breast cancer. The diet has already been associated with greatly helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to The New England Journal of Medicine.

One thing to mention about this study is that the nature of an experiment like this brings up the controversy of ethics. In class, we talked about new cancer trials that separates the patients in half. Half receive the possible better treatment than the other half. The study on reducing breast cancer from the Mediterranean diet seems to be  very similar to that. In my opinion, it is necessary for a trial this important to be conducted because there is no way of knowing the results of the benefits of the diet if there is no well put experiment to support the hypothesis. What do you guys think?

The big take home message from this blog post is that it is important to deeply understand a diet before you engage in it. There are so many diets out there that help different people with different health and physical goals in mind. If you wish to lose fifteen pounds very quickly for a movie role, than go ahead and do the low-carb diet. If you wish to greatly eliminate the chances of receiving dangerous illnesses such as cancer and heart problems, than you might want to take a look at the Mediterranean diet!



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