The answer to the obesity epidemic…and a whole lot more

What I am about to tell you is such shocking news that I really think you ought to sit down for this one…

According to recent results from the Spanish PREDIMED trial, Mediterranean diets don’t lead to weight gain.

Is my sarcasm showing? It should be — because the only thing that’s shocking about this “news” is that there are still people who haven’t heard it already.

I could have happily saved these researchers their trouble by sharing the results of my 20 years’ worth of clinical experience. (During which time I’ve helped countless patients shed weight and get healthy on a Mediterranean-style diet.)

But seeing as how it’s obvious that mainstream medicine still hasn’t let go of its dated low-fat dogma, perhaps I shouldn’t be so glib about any research that helps to set the record straight.

After all, there’s been plenty of research linking a Mediterranean-style diet (which is characterized by whole foods and healthy fats) to lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and death by any cause.

But this is the first randomized trial to actually look at how this nutritional approach affects both weight and waist circumference over the long haul. So while the results aren’t exactly a surprise, they are important.

You might recall that I’ve reported on other findings from the PREDIMED trial in the Reality Health Check before. But here’s a refresher: As part of this study, researchers randomly assigned subjects to one of three different types of diets:

  • A Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil.
  • A Mediterranean diet rich in nuts.
  • A typical low-fat diet.

None of the subjects cut calories or exercised more than usual. And as these latest findings show, you don’t need to do that in order to control your weight. At least, not if you play your cards — or rather, plan your meals — right.

While all three groups lost a little bit of weight, the olive oil group lost the most weight over five years. And both the Mediterranean-diet groups maintained smaller waistlines over the same time period.

Translation: You DON”T have to fear high-fat foods. In fact, you should embrace them. It’s crystal clear at this point that consuming more healthy fats is the best strategy for long-term weight control and metabolic health.

This ridiculous notion that fat makes you fat has led one too many Americans to trade in perfectly healthy foods like nuts, avocados, and olives for processed “low fat” and “low calorie” garbage that makes up for what it’s lost in natural flavor with extra sugar and salt.

The simple biologic fact is that fat blunts blood sugar spikes and curbs hunger, while sugar and carbs have the exact opposite effect. And we wonder why Americans keep getting fatter and sicker.

So you know what? Forget about my sarcasm earlier. These PREDIMED findings need to be shouted from the rooftops. Because this country’s diabesity problem isn’t going away so long as the low-fat, low-calorie myth persists.