Consuming a Mediterranean diet may be more important than ever for men as new research supports its ability to lower bad cholesterol levels, regardless of whether or not weight loss accompanied the method.
The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a lifestyle in which consuming whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, olive oil and lean meats in smaller portions is typical. This diet has been gaining in popularity as more and more studies support its beneficial effects on the human body.
Although the research is preliminary as it has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, it was presented at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2013 Scientific Sessions. During the study, scientists looked at 19 men aged 24 to 62 who already had metabolic syndrome, which the American Heart Association says "refers to three or more significant risk factors for heart disease and stroke." Metabolic syndrome is on the rise due to increased health stressors brought on by excess abdominal fat and high blood pressure.
For five weeks the researchers had participants eat a typical American diet of red meats and refined carbohydrates high in sugar and fats. They contrasted this with five weeks of the typical Mediterranean diet and found that "regardless of whether patients lost weight, following the Mediterranean-style diet resulted in a 9 percent decrease in levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) known as "bad" cholesterol. Similarly, blood concentrations of the protein part of the lipoprotein, called apolipoprotein B, dropped 9 percent after eating Mediterranean-style, researchers noted.
Caroline Richard, M.Sc. study lead author and registered dietician added, "The Mediterranean-style diet, or MedDiet, may be recommended for effective management of the metabolic syndrome and its related risk of cardiovascular disease."
Richard, C. (Ed.). (2013). Proceedings from ATVB Scientific Sessions 2013: Heart-Healthy Diet Helps Men Lower Bad Cholesterol, Regardless of Weight Loss. Retrieved 6 May, 2013 from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-05/aha-hdh042513.php